Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - St. Lucia’s Ministry of Health Human
Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations, has been stressing the importance
of the multi-disciplinary approach currently being used for child health care.
One of the principal proponents of the idea Paediatrician Dr. Jacqueline Bird
says child health care is a continuous comprehensive attack on a child’s
problems or potential problems.
That comprehensive approach to child health care embraces the individual from
pregnancy, and involves prenatal care and counselling for the expectant mother,
delivery of her baby and detailed tracking of the child’s development through to
adulthood. A team of medical professionals attempt to diagnose situations early
and take preventative action.
Health official in Saint Lucia have been working towards lowering infant
motility rates, however other countries have been able to prove scientifically
that the team approach to child care works and saves children’s lives. “The UK
for instance has shown very clearly that children benefit from a team approach
and they have shown that when they don’t get that sought of treatment their
health fails and they are lost,” says Dr. Bird.
On any given day at clinics in Saint Lucia, medical personnel involved in
community child health services and reproductive health care, non governmental
organizations, like the Child Development Guidance Centre, the St. Lucia Blind
Welfare Association, parents and day care coordinators, come together to
administer what has been termed holistic care to St. Lucian children. Another
significant component is that of community nursing services, of which Dr. Bird
says the island boasts of an excellent programme, which she believes, is under
The long serving paediatrician says, “We are begging all parents to consider the
community clinic in their region as their child’s health home, to come in and
register so that we know you, even if you do most of your care privately. We
want to know of the child and of any incidents or interventions that have been”
Health officials say that to prevent duplicating of effort and to dispel
confusion, detailed records are kept of all medical interventions done
throughout the child’s life, all that information is contained in the health
passport which is said to be the best in the Caribbean to date.
The Ministry of Health Human Services, recently launched its own National Child
and Adolescent Health team to oversee the monitoring and implementation of the
new multi-disciplinary approach to child care.