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Enrol your children to give them the best start in life

Wednesday 13 June, 2018

As a parent do you want to give your child the best start in life?

Giving our kids a brighter future by ensuring they have access to the best healthcare in their early years is the reason behind an initiative promoting early enrolment into the health system of Bay of Plenty children.

Community Health 4 Kids Regional Administrator Bev McVicar oversees a team helping new mums enrol their children for free dental, and other health checks. In 2017 the team introduced a Newborn Enrolment Form.

“We know that new mums have a lot going on for them and while it seems like just another form to fill in, early enrolment with Dental, GP’s and Wellchild/Tamariki Ora can have a massive impact on a child’s quality of life,” says Bev.

Newborn dental enrolments have almost doubled since the new scheme began in 2017. Of 1,912 births in March – August 2016, only 534 (28%) were enrolled for dental checks within 120 days of birth. For the same period in 2017 that figure shot up with 1,017 of 1,913 babies enrolled (53%).

A lot of youngsters are still not receiving their free dental checks though says Bev, and she is calling on their parents to get in touch with the team and get them enrolled and booked in.

What we need to know?

The Newborn Enrolment form asks mothers/caregivers to nominate for their newborn:

• GP

• Wellchild/Tamariki Ora Provider

• Dental enrolment choices BOPDHB Community Dental/Te Manu Toroa (WBOP)

• Plus gives the mothers information on immunisation and new born hearing and screening.

Why is it important?

It is important children are enrolled early in life with a GP so that their six-week, and ongoing immunisations are provided at the appropriate age. Wellchild/Tamariki Ora enrolments are critical for children and their whānau to ensure our babies right up to 4 years receive their free health checks. Between 4 – 5 years old the B4 School Nurse Programme offers the last of the Wellchild/Tamariki Ora checks.

Early enrolment and early visits with dental services help to set up good oral health outcomes into adulthood.

Enrolling with the dental service

Babies are usually first seen by a dental or oral health therapist between 9-18 months of age.

“We need to enrol these children at birth or as soon as possible,” says Bev. “This adds them to our patient database, so we can make contact with their family/ whānau and arrange an appointment with one of our dental or oral health therapists.

“Some parents ask why their baby or toddler needs to be seen so early, especially when they only have a few teeth or none at all. We tell them our dental or oral health therapist would be happy to see them to pass on key tips and advice about the importance of their baby’s teeth, when to start brushing, type of toothpaste to use, when we will see them next, and much more.”

If your pre-school child has not been seen by the dental service you can phone us on 0800 935 554 and select option 1.


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