Plea on behalf of Luton malaria sufferers

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: August 30th, 1919]

One of the legacies of the war so far as Luton is concerned will be a very large number of people who are victims of malaria, according to Alderman J. H. Staddon at last night's meeting of the War Pensions Committee, of which he is Chairman. In this connection he made a special appeal to employers of men who suffer from malaria.

There are a large number of malaria patients in the town already, he said, and the number would be vastly increased as the troops came home from the East. He had experience with some of these cases, and he was sure the committee would support him in an appeal to employers to give every consideration to such cases.

A man might have to stand off for three days in a week, and perhaps the whole of the following week. He hoped when this happened employers would not say such a man was no use, as he could not carry on, and so give him notice to leave.

He found with a little perseverance and study that with care a man in a matter of a month or six weeks was able to do his work with the rest of the men. One case had been brought to their notice where a man who suffered from malaria had been taken back to his former employment and put on night work. That was not fair.

There would be thousands of men suffering in this way, but they would get over it, and employers should give them every consideration. There was no reason why the firms employing them should send them back on the Pensions Committee unless they were going to be away weeks at a time, then they would be proper cases for the committee to assist. Where it was only for two or three days it would not hurt the employer to take the responsibility, and then the man would not starve while a pension payment was being authorised.

In reply to a question, Mr Gardner (Secretary) said malaria patients were to be treated freely by the committee, and they could be given treatment on a doctor's certificate without the necessity of going to a medical referee. They had one case where a doctor certified that a man would be unfit for work for the next six weeks, and he would come on full pension rates.