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St. Lucia moves closer in adopting multi-disciplinary approach to child health care

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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 utilized.

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.

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