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The only way in which to provide country districts, is for the Government, either directly, or indirectly through the Hospital Boards, to pay the salaries and living expenses of the midwife, and where necessary, an assistant.
The fees charged the patients should go a long way towards paying expenses, and the midwife herself would be in a secure financial position, and so be able to take cases whether they can pay or not.
The stationing of midwives from the St. Helens Hospitals in various parts of the country with pay and allowances equivalent to what they could earn privately in town appears the best means of bringing the benefits of the State maternity hospitals within the reach of those who are too far away to become in-patients or whose family ties prevent their doing so.
''One half the world does not know how the other half lives.''
This is an old maxim and its truth is apparent in Wellington to-day (says the New Zealand Times). The influenza epidemic has brought home to citizens the fact that a community cannot afford to let the unholy trinity of poverty, disease, and dirt run riot in their midst.
A tour round some of the slum areas of Wellington gave a representative an idea of the depth of poverty in which the ''submerged tenth''of the city live. In some cases it has reached utter destitution. Infants have been found by the epidemic fighters lacking any clothing at all.
Women stricken by the influenza were found destitute of nightclothes. Women deprived of their breadwinners are left to struggle along with children, with no means of paying the rent, and in some cases with the prospect sooner or later of having another mouth to feed.
One such case is that of a woman 21 years of age, occupying a house belonging to an estate administered by the Public Trustee. She has two children, and is expecting another. She owes five weeks' rent, and is being ''dunned'' for it. Some official or other, having the official mind, called on her and suggested that she might be able to secure employment!
Meantime she is dependent on public and private relief. But the rent has not been paid. What is to become of her? What chance have the children? Can the dominion allow potential citizens to grow up during their plastic years in conditions that do not make for a sound mind and a sound body?
These questions seemed to demand an immediate answer, for it is certain that sheer, stark poverty is undermining the physique of many of Wellington's wage-earners.
Netting in Lake Hawea has, thus far, met with little success this season, very few fish having been obtained by this method. Fly fishermen have accounted for most of the rainbow trout secured, and several were recently taken in the lake near Timaru Creek by Mr Butterworth, of Dunedin, to whose efforts the successful introduction of this variety, as far as Lake Hawea is concerned, was largely due. Other anglers have taken fair numbers from Timaru Creek, several having been secured some miles from the lake.
- ODT 12.12.1918
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