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Excess of fines above expenses.
$14,191.00 The Constitution requires the Chief Executive to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." It is not always an easy task. In some counties the local officers are not in sympathy with certain laws and in such circumstances proper law enforcement is next to impossible. In such cases the law enforcement department has been of very great assistance. But its chief activities and best results have been obtained in co-operation with local officers with whom the most cordial relations exist throughout the State with the exceptions noted above. The accomplishments of the department have more than justified its creation. It will be seen that the cash fines imposed upon violators of the law exceeded the expenses of maintaining the department by $14,191.00. No friend of law and order and the enforcement of the prohibition laws in particular could possibly advocate the reduction or abolition of this body of law enforcers.
This department could be enlarged and its scope of activity widened with profit to the State. It could be used to advantage in running down criminals, murderers and other grave offenders against law and society, working in co-operation with sheriffs and other local officials. Events during recent years have proved the utter inadequacy of present means and methods employed for the apprehension of this class of criminals.
The appropriation for its maintenance should be adequate for the addition to the force of highly trained specialists in the business of running down crimes of a more serious nature than those for which it is used at present.
PUBLIC HEALTH No branch of the State government has made more splendid advances during my term of office than has the Department of Health. It has fulfilled its early promise of real achievement.
The machinery of our health organization has been perfected and adapted to the safeguarding of the health and lives of the people of Alabama, with such success that scientists from other states and from foreign countries have come here to study our organization and to observe our plan of operation.
The improved office and laboratory facilities provided by the last Legislature have enabled the State Board of Health, in its new quarters at 519 Dexter avenue, to expand its service with the greatest degree of satisfaction and least possible expense to the State. Improved administrative methods in the Pasteur Institute have resulted in the saving of $10,000.00 a year to the State; typhoid vaccine is now being made and distributed free to the citizens of the State. Diphtheria anti-toxin is distributed free to indigents and all other biological products are distributed at minimum cost to the purchaser.
The money which the State has appropriated for health work has, through wise handling and obvious achievement, attracted supplementary funds from the coffers of Federal and voluntary health agencies.
A total of more than $85,000.00 from these sources has been added to the State's appropriation and spent in health protection.
These are some of the outstanding evidences of real accomplishment:
Twenty of our more populous counties have the protection of full-time health service; this covers 50% of our entire population and 31% of our rural citizenry considered alone. According to the rating of the United States Public Health Service, only two states in the Union equal or excel this record.
Safe city water supplies serve our urban population under the , watchful supervision of the Engineering Bureau of the State Board of Health. As a result of safe water and full-time health service, typhoid fever is becoming more and more uncommon and deaths from this disease are fewer by about two-thirds than they were four years ago for the entire State. This means saving of more than 2,000 lives which would have been lost by typhoid fever alone had conditions remained the same throughout 1921 as obtained in 1917.
The machinery for the collection and preservation of statistical records has been brought to a degree of accuracy which will admit Alabama to the United States Registration Area.
The hotels of the State are inspected systematically and marked progress has been made toward making the traveling public comfortable; cafes, soft drink stands and bottling plants have been brought to a very high standard of sanitation; regulations governing food supplies have met a need long felt by the general public.
Malaria control projects are in operation throughout the State and the results of this work are apparent in increased industrial efficiency in malaria sections and a lowered death rate from ma
laria. Another 1,000 who were due to die from this cause, according to 1917 figures, are enjoying life as a result of preventive measures instituted by the Health Department. It is with no small degree of pride that I mention the fact that at a recent competitive exhibit held in Chattanooga by the Southern Medical Association, Alabama won first prize for malaria control work.
Alabama is rated first by the United States Public Health Service in venereal disease control. A State-wide campaign against the social diseases is carried on by means of 12 free clinics and 115 co-operative clinics which latter charge a nominal fee of $2.00 for service which ordinarily costs from $15.00 to $25.00. That appreciable progress is being made toward the eradication of these diseases is shown by a constantly decreasing number of new infections combined with longer continued treatment for all cases under supervision.
Women of the under world have been a problem in every generation. Many of these wrecks of society might be redeemed if adequate facilities were provided for their treatment and rehabilitation. I recommend that a detention home for infected prostitutes be built and adequate provision made for the maintenance of the home and treatment of its inmates.
The problem of approaching and enlightening our boys and girls on question of sex and the dangers attending exposure to social diseases has been a source of concern to parents in every age; we have here in this agency a sane program for reaching and teaching the high school boys and girls which merits the approval of every parent in Alabama.
The harmonious working relations between the various departments of the State government are gratifying. The State Board of Health and the Department of Education are working hand in hand for the upbuilding of our children.
The University of Alabama in co-operation with the State Board of Health is conducting an extension course in School Health Work for Teachers.
The Agricultural Extension Department at Auburn is in thorough accord with the aims and purposes of the State Board of Health in its program of health education, the results of which are evident in many ways, but conspicuously so in the lowered death rate from pellagra.
The Alabama Tuberculosis Association is co-operating with the State Board of Health in a general health program; Alabama is one of the few states of the Union having no hospital for the care of tuberculous citizens. I, therefore, recommend that such an institution be established.
Work already inaugurated for the protection of mothers and babies as one feature of the county health programs has been recently expanded by the addition of a number of nurses through our acceptance of the Sheppard-Towner Act, which provides for an annual subsidy to each of the forty-eight states of Federal money to the extent of $5,000.00 outright and an additional sum determined by the size of its population, provided, that this additional sum be matched dollar for dollar by State funds forming a budget for financing educational work with regard to the hygiene of maternity and infancy.
The funds made available to Alabama in this way amount to $25,836.95 per annum, $20,836.95 of which must be matched by State funds.
As Chief Executive of the State, in order to meet the demands of this Act, I accepted these funds from the government in the spring of 1921; I am recommending that a joint resolution be passed by the State Legislature confirming my executive action.
An altogether higher conception of health as an economic asset is evident among our people than that which was in evidence at the beginning of my administration. The figures quoted above represent lives saved from a few definite causes mentioned and do not take into account the higher level of health and industrial efficiency noticeable throughout the State and the higher physical rating of our school children.
An analysis of the progress of the past four years in public health in Alabama in comparison with other commonwealths convinces me of two things:
First-That the Alabama State health system is fundamentally sound and workable and that the freedom of initiative it allows the health executive combined with the lump sum budget which affords opportunity for astute business management presents a unique opportunity for the development of that quality of leadership which our democracy so sadly needs and so seldom produces.
Second—That in Dr. S. W. Welch, State Health Officer, charged with the physical well-being of our people, Alabama has a great leader for a great cause and that this leader, who brings to the working out of high purposes the ripe experience of a sound business and professional career, is pre-eminently fitted to serve and conserve the health interests of the State of Alabama.
Your attention is again called to the fact that $85,000 was spent in Alabama last year in demonstration work by agencies outside of the State; these several activities must be taken over at some time by the State; the work must go forward or break down and an increase in the appropriation will be necessary.
I would consider it a profitable investment for the State of Alabama to place at the disposal of our health organization an appropriation of $500,000 per year. The State could make no better investment. It would pay enormous dividends in the form of thousands of lives saved annually and in a tremendous increase in the mental and physical vigor of our people, resulting in a vast increase in the producing powers of our people. That sum would be a mere bagatelle along side the increased value of crops produced by a healthy, full blooded, vigorous people.
In no other field of human endeavor is interest quite so keen and general as in that relating to the education of youth. This has been true in all ages. Even the savage of the forest found his greatest joy in training his sons for achievement in the arts in which he himself excelled. The crowning glory of our modern civilization is its recognition of education as a governmental duty. All civilized peoples now make provision at public expense for the systematic training of their youth for efficient citizenship and for success in the occupations of life.
The people of Alabama have expended much of money and energy in an effort to provide education for their children. For several decades each State administration has improved upon the educational record of its predecessor. In the making of appropriations as well as in the improvement of the laws under which our school system is administered, there has been marked and continued progress.
THE SURVEY COMMISSION In spite of the acknowledged rapid improvement in the public school system within recent years the people of the State in 1919 .were face to face with the fact that the educational opportunities of a vast majority of our children were far below what every patriotic citizen desired. It was deemed wise, therefore, before passing new laws and making further appropriations, to take stock or make an inventory of what we had in the way of educational facilities, to examine into the character of the services rendered by the existing educational machinery, and to determine in what degree our educational affairs were being efficiently administered.
Upon my recommendation, the Legislature in February, 1919, passed an Act providing for the appointment of a commission of five members to make a study of the public educational system of Alabama, including all schools and educational institutions supported in whole or in part from public funds, to determine the efficiency of the same and to report its findings with recommendations to the Governor on or before July 1st of that year. In the appointment of the commission one member of the Senate, Hon. A. H. Carmichael, and one from the House of Representatives, Hon. J. E. Dunaway, were chosen, and to these were added three other well known and leading citizens, Hon. Sydney J.