PHAC releases report on Child Health and Wellbeing

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The Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC) has announced the release of its latest report, The Best Start in Life: Achieving effective action on child health and wellbeing.

Rather than focusing on specific health issues, the PHACs report to the Minister of Health explores why there has been an overall lack of progress in improving health outcomes for New Zealand children aged under six. In a number of recent international reports, New Zealand has ranked low in child health and safety compared with other OECD countries. Some of New Zealands disease patterns among children are closer to those of developing countries.

The Best Start in Life argues that bold changes must be made to the Government and societys approach to child health and wellbeing if overall outcomes are to improve. It calls for four major improvements for children:

  • Strengthen leadership to champion child health and wellbeing.
  • Develop an effective whole-of-government approach for children.
  • Establish an integrated approach to service delivery for children.
  • Monitor child health and wellbeing using an agreed set of indicators.

The report recommends specific actions both across government and within the health and disability sector to achieve these improvements.

Governments do not bring up children, but most of their decisions affect families in some way. A more sustained and integrated approach to childrens services and policy is necessary. Investing in child development, especially in the early years, brings positive results for children and future productivity. We must do our best for all children, especially those being left behind.

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