Targets for the health checks that children have before they start school have been exceeded in Taranaki.
In the year from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, 94% of the region’s under-fours or 1519 children were checked by a public health nurse, Tamariki Ora nurse from Tui Ora or Ngati Ruanui.
This included 90% of those children from hard to reach populations. Tui Ora saw 109 youngsters and Ngati Ruanui saw 73.
Nationally, the target is 90%. The check-up, called a B4 School Check, is a nationwide programme offering a free health and development check for 4-year-olds.
The high number of children being seen is great news because it ensures problems related to vision, hearing and early milestones are identified before children start school, and specialist help can be sought. Those with hearing problems, for example, can be referred to an audiologist.
“It picks up issues that may impact on their education and means the proper support can be put in place to ensure children have the best start in life”, says Primary Care Service Leader Sandra Hawkins.
A mobile service provided by Tui Ora allows children to be seen wherever it’s most convenient – at an early childhood centre, kohanga reo or at their home.