25 Nov 2009

Child health monitor aims to pick up problems early

9:30 pm on 25 November 2009

Paediatricians say the launch of an online system for tracking the health of children affected by the economic downturn will allow adverse trends to be picked up early and acted on.

The New Zealand Children's Social Health Monitor was launched at the Paediatric Society's conference in Hamilton on Wednesday.

It consists of a website bringing together the latest figures on child health, including infant mortality rates and hospital admissions.

Dr Liz Craig, from the Child and Youth Epidemiology Service, says that in hard economic times some children suffer from not being taken to the doctor, living in overcrowded homes and not being fed adequately.

She says research from previous economic downturns shows children suffer the most, but such information only used to come out years after the event.

The website will track and update indicators and any deterioration can be brought to the attention of policymakers, she says.