The Herald reports:
Dr Paul Hutchison, chairman of the health committee which this week made a raft of recommendations around early intervention health programmes, told TVNZ’s Q + A the Government needed to reprioritise the health budget to better address the needs of many young New Zealanders.
“This dollar spent very early on, not only improves the health outcome of the younger, it gives them the chance to be productive and lead highly functional contributory lives.”
I agree. For the same reasons I would spend more on early childhood education than tertiary education – you do the most good when young.
They key recommendations from the select committee chaired by Dr Hutchison are:
*Research the cost-effectiveness of early intervention programmes from pre-conception to three years within 12 months.
*Set a national health target for all women to have an antenatal assessment within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
*Make sexual education mandatory in all schools and increase access to long-acting contraceptives.
*Develop an action plan with NGOs and private sector for evidence-based nutrition programmes.
*Develop an action plan to combat fetal alcohol syndrome, introduce warning labels on alcohol products, and consider higher taxes on alcohol.
*Consider expansion of early childhood education services in poor areas.
*Prime Minister to take on a formal leadership role in developing a cross-agency plan for children’s health.
*Invest in a nationwide oral health campaign and transfer responsibility for fluoride additives to Ministry of Health and DHBs.
*Give support to funding for research on children’s health, and match it to international benchmarks.
All looks pretty sensible and worthwhile.Tags: Health, Paul Hutchison