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Newborns off to a great start in life

Baby Henderson with parents Michael and Anneke, midwife Dawn McHugh, associate clinical midwife manager Michele Prince and Delivery Suite administrator Fazeema Mohammed.

Newborn baby with parents Michael and Anneke Henderson, midwife Dawn McHugh, associate clinical midwife manager Michele Prince and Delivery Suite administrator Fazeema Mohammed.

When baby Henderson was born at Waikato Hospital on 6 October this year he was already on a pathway that will give him important health support in his early years and lay a foundation for a healthy life.

His parents Anneke and Michael Henderson from Hamilton are Plunket supporters and are amongst those who are taking up the opportunity to nominate their newborn for the Well Child Tamariki Ora programme, which is delivered in the community by a number of providers, including Plunket. The programme provides children with health assessment, promotion and support services from birth to five years old – as one integrated package. That makes it easier for the family to link into very important early health support from a Well Child provider of their choice.

Baby Henderson is part of a big push by Waikato’s Well Child Tamariki Ora programme to boost the enrolment of newborns.

Regional programme manager Kathryn Fromont explains that Waikato was lagging behind other DHBs in very early enrolments and needed to make it a focus.

The project launched in Delivery Suite at Waikato Hospital on 20 September 2016 and started with no babies nominated at birth. Within two weeks, more than 50 percent of babies were being nominated at birth.

Working with the Well Child providers, Waikato Hospital Delivery Suite staff and midwives, the initiative is making huge progress and has been very well received by parents.

“It has just been a matter of giving the parents information and opportunity at the right time.”

“We have a target of enrolling 70 percent of Waikato newborns with a Well Child Tamariki Ora provider by the end of this year and 90 percent by July 2017,” she says.

Parents are given information about the programme and the range of Well Child providers that are available to them.  Most areas have both Plunket and a Māori provider to choose from, while Hamilton, Te Kuiti and Tokoroa also have a Pacific provider. Families can choose any provider, not necessarily based on their ethnicity.

Nominating from birth means parents have got that “sorted” right from the start and don’t have to remember to do it later on. The provider the family has chosen will make contact with the family and arrange the first visit. It also gives the baby immediate access to the earliest check-ups, including a GP check at six weeks linked to the early immunisations.

 

The Well Child Tamariki Ora programme is a nationwide free service provided by the Ministry of Health for all New Zealand children from birth to five years old. It is delivered through district health boards and a range of health organisations which are approved Well Child Tamariki providers.

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