Ser­vice marks 100 years

The Tatura Guardian - - News -

This year com­mu­ni­ties are cel­e­brat­ing 100 years of Vic­to­ria’s Ma­ter­nal and Child Health ser­vice, which has been help­ing to give ba­bies and young chil­dren in the Tatura com­mu­nity the best start in life.

In June 1917, Rich­mond City Coun­cil sup­ported the first Baby Health Cen­tre, as it was then known, in re­sponse to con­cerns from com­mu­nity mem­bers about un­ac­cept­ably high in­fant mor­tal­ity rates.

Its suc­cess quickly led to the open­ing of two more cen­tres in Carl­ton and Mel­bourne, be­fore the move­ment spread rapidly across the state.

To­day more than 827 000 con­sul­ta­tions are held with fam­i­lies each year in Vic­to­ria by more than 1100 trained MCH nurses.

The ser­vice in­cludes free reg­u­lar check­ups and health sup­port for chil­dren at key de­vel­op­men­tal stages up to the age of six, and is re­lied on by par­ents to en­sure the on­go­ing health of their chil­dren.

Mu­nic­i­pal As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria pres­i­dent Mary Lalios said the MCH ser­vice played a spe­cial role in Vic­to­rian com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Al­most ev­ery Vic­to­rian would have had some kind of ex­pe­ri­ence with their lo­cal Ma­ter­nal and Child Health Ser­vice, whether it was as a child or a new par­ent,’’ Cr Lalios said.

‘‘This year we are cel­e­brat­ing the rich his­tory of the ser­vice and the peo­ple who worked tire­lessly to see it es­tab­lished a cen­tury ago.

‘‘It is also an op­por­tu­nity to hon­our all the ma­ter­nal and child health nurses who have helped to en­sure ev­ery child in Vic­to­ria gets the best start in life.’’

Mayor of the City of Yarra, home to the first Baby Health Cen­tre in the state, Cr Amanda Stone, said she was de­lighted to cel­e­brate this re­mark­able cen­tury, and to high­light the spe­cial role Rich­mond and other Yarra sub­urbs have played in the on­go­ing suc­cess of the MCH Ser­vice.

‘‘The Ma­ter­nal and Child Health Ser­vice plays a vi­tal role in the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially for new moth­ers,’’ Cr Stone said.

‘‘The cen­te­nary of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on the achieve­ments of lo­cal nurses, their ad­min­is­tra­tors and sup­port staff.

‘‘All play an es­sen­tial role in sup­port­ing and guid­ing fam­i­lies as they wel­come chil­dren into the world and ne­go­ti­ate those all-im­por­tant first steps.’’

Un­der­stand­ing and sup­port: Tatura Ma­ter­nal Child Health nurse Me­lanie Col­lett with mother Sarah Hans­ford and her chil­dren Sam, 4 months, and Mitchell, 2.

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