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Monday, 5 March 2012

Child Health – a Scorecard of Provincial Comparisons

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The Canadian Paediatric Society has been a great advocate for the health and wellbeing of children.   The resources that have been developed are excellent, professional and generally targeted at a lay population.   Their activities are to be commended and supported.   Check out the website and take a tour of what is readily accessible for professionals and public alike Canadian Paediatric Society

The joy of working outside the government structures is the ability to produce comparison analysis that provincial and federal governments fear.   A recent addition to their advocacy efforts is a report card on healthy public policy for children CPS report card.    How is your province/territory  stacking up on these 13 indicators that might be semi-randomly selected but should be on any good public health shopper’s wish list. 

The CPS is also raising out the caution flag on the failures in improvement over the past 2 years.  The Healthy Early Learning Partnership has also flagged deteriorating preparedness of children for school over the past iteration of their BC surveys help ubc .   While the recession has impacted all ages and parts of society, as the CPS eloquently state in their preamble “children and youth are our most powerful assets” and that they “offer the best possible return on public investment towards ensuring a strong economy and a healthy nation”.   There are many bank executives that would concur with these statements, however until children are granted a vote – politicians can too easily afford to ignore their plight.

The most notable finding in the report is the inequities that exist nationally in access to healthy child initiatives.     Developing a crude imputed variable based on the four points of the scale used to rate the 13 variables, gives a relative score and ranking from highest to lowest (maximum score of 39)

Ontario                                       28
New Brunswick                          25
British Columbia                         22
Nova Scotia                               21
Quebec and PEI                         19
Newfoundland and Labrador      17
Manitoba and Saskatchewan      14
Yukon                                        11
NWT and Alberta                       10
Nunavut                                        7

 The federal government received 7 out of 27 points which would have put them proportionately on par with NWT and Alberta. 

Another way to look at the data is who is made progress and who is falling back from the previous report care in 2009.  

Ontario and New Brunswick were the big gainers (+5): 
PEI (+3);  BC and Manitoba (+2); Saskatchewan and Newfoundland (+1)  
Quebec, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut and the federal government all netted zero.  
Alberta and Nova Scotia slipped a single point. 

Perhaps not the way that the CPS wanted the data used, but sometimes a story can be told in a just a few simple numbers.   

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