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Board meeting notes April 15, 2015

Apr 24, 2015
The Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health learned that women without a partner, with challenging social and economic circumstances, and/or with low social support are less likely to breastfeed

Healthy Babies Healthy Children program under stress

The Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health expressed frustration over negligible one-year increases to Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program funding. The funding shortfall, created by eight years without any increase to the program’s base budget, has forced staff reduction and continues to undermine the capacity of the HBHC program to serve those most at risk and to meet the ambitious targets set out by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Family health director Carolyn Shoreman shared staffing cuts with the Board, which included reductions in public health nurses, lay home visitors and administrative support positions. She also reported that the health unit is one of many across the province struggling to meet program targets and reduce the wait-list for service. New Board Members were shocked while returning members were disappointed that prior communication to the Ministry has not brought about any program relief. The Board Members in attendance unanimously authorized including a letter objecting to the funding shortfalls with the funding agreement.

Supporting breastfeeding women

The Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health learned that women without a partner, with challenging social and economic circumstances, and/or with low social support are less likely to breastfeed. To help improve rates among these populations, the health unit has received a grant from Ontario’s Best Start Resource Centre for a community breastfeeding project. The project will work towards: improving breastfeeding support in communities across Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka; educating grandmothers and other female relatives of their important role in supporting breastfeeding; and providing hospital and community health care providers with increased knowledge and ability to provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support.

Initially, Board Members were questioning whether there is an issue with breastfeeding in public. Natalie Riewe, manager of the Child Health program at the health unit, shared Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) data that indicated 25-30 per cent of our population is conditionally or is not supportive of breastfeeding in public places. 

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place May 20 at 9:15 a.m.
in the Cookstown office at 2-25 King Street South



News releases are stored here dating back to spring 2005. Earlier news releases are maintained in an archive and can be retrieved by calling the health unit during business hours.

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