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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Out with the Old – and In with the New

Welcome to 2014!!!!!!   

A great time to celebrate our children. Starting with infant mortality where the Washington Post reports the graph of the year as the remarkable gains in infant mortality in the past two decades since the gruesome genocide.  

There is a great Unicef report on child mortality that is worth looking at for good news at the global level http://www.unicef.org/media/files/2013_IGME_child_mortality_Report.pdf   

Closer to home,  it would be great to report that the state of children in this country is thriving, but it is not.  Canada’s progress on infant mortality is not impressive with essentially stagnant rates over the past decade and a pitiful 16th out of 17 compared to peer countries (only the US being worst). That report from the Conference Board of Canada.  Careful review of IMR in the graph below over the past decade may show the impact of the 2008 recession and the slow recovery from the economic turmoil. (data from Index Mundi).  

Hidden in this is the large variation in the country which can be found at Stats Canada where New Brunswick and BC typically demonstrate infant mortality rates that are half those of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland combined.  Nunavut rates are consistently three to five times higher than the national average with the other territories tending to be higher than the national average.

A 2008 report speaks to child security in the country as declining over the previous decade and while it provides explanations as to why the observed increase, its not a report that received attention Child abuse and neglect 2008.   It will behoove the current government to continue the 5 yearly update through 2013 – and one can wonder if that is likely to occur.

In 2009 one of the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) reports that rarely get any attention devoted itself to children’s health issues growing up Well.  Reviewing the next steps section and commitment of the CPHO one must wonder if the report had any impact as healthy child development policies have been mired in a dessert, surveillance has become scarcer with many reports now merely archived, and no further specific attention to children from subsequent CPHO reports.  2014 will see the departure of our first CPHO

Of course one would hope that  Statistics Canada would be the definitive source for child circumstances in Canada, supplemented by CIHI for health specific information.   On the later site, its hard to find mention of children at all. (although a good report on severe dental caries  was published in 2013). As to Statistics Canada, look carefully at the dearth of recent and relevant discussions of the state of children in Canada hidden amongst what appears to be plethora of material.

Perhaps the motto for our current government is “In with the Old, Out with the New”.  

Myopia appears to have higher prevalence in those elected to office, it is a correctable condition. 

May 2014 bring all peace, happiness, health and prosperity. May it also bring attention to the plight of Canadian children, quickly becoming a neglected generation.  

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