Taranaki B4 School programme exceeds targets

13 February 2023

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand is praising Taranaki’s B4 School health check programme for children after its significant performance turnaround.

Coordinated by Te Whatu Ora in Taranaki, Tui Ora, the Public Health Nurse team and Ngāti Ruanui, the B4 School Check (B4SC) is a free health and development check for four to five –year-old tamariki. It is the last Well Child check to make sure pre-school-aged children are healthy and can learn well at school.

Senior Advisor for Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand’s Child and Community Health programme, Meenakshi Panda, congratulated the team for their “hard work, dedication, and resilience in completing and exceeding the B4SC target.”

“At the end of the last financial year, Taranaki was behind by 170 checks,” says Panda. “However, you are ahead with 60 checks, (in the report) ending October 2022. This is a vast improvement that needs to be recognized and celebrated. B4SC is meeting the target at the national level after a long time.”

“I’d like heartily thank the staff working tireless hours on the frontline to make this happen. We appreciate their can-do and working out-of-the-box attitude and value the mahi you do.

Undertaken by a registered nurse, the check covers such health aspects as hearing and vision, oral health and immunisation, says Taranaki B4 School Coordinator, Belinda Miller.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there was no B4SC Clinics in Taranaki for a two-month period,” says Miller.

“Nursing Staff were diverted to COVID-19 roles in the hospital and community setting. This had a negative impact on reaching our targets.”

“Once clinics could recommence, the team have gone above and beyond to run additional clinics and ensure all clinics are full to capacity each week.”

“Tui Ora and Ngati Ruanui are vital services in our community. Their focus is to prioritise vulnerable members of our population including Maori, Pacific and new migrant children.

“Picking up vison or hearing concerns before a child starts school can make such a massive impact on a child’s learning and behaviour,” explains Miller. “It is all about ensuring our tamariki in Taranaki have the best start.”

In another advancement, this year the programme has brought in junior doctors on a three-month rotation. The doctors have been providing checks alongside the nursing team and gain important experience about child health needs.

“This has been highly successful and well received from whānau. This is unique to Taranaki and we are very pleased to have them as part of our team.”

B4 School check clinics are run by Tui Ora and Ngati Ruanui in the whanau home and sometimes in their clinical space. The Public Health Nursing Team complete the checks in Te Whatu Ora clinics all around the mountain. Checks can be booked in by phoning 027 241 5190 or emailing B4Schools.Forms@tdhb.org.nz

Last updated: Monday, February 13, 2023

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