There's an idea: Pediatric clinics at low-income schools
Tonight the Toronto District School Board's program and school services committee will be discussing its proposal to bring health clinics to six of the neediest inner-city schools in Toronto.
The moves follows startling findings during hearing and eyesight tests at schools in poorer communities. Nearly a third of these kids needed follow-up care by an optometrist, and 13.7 per cent needed further hearing tests. This spoke to the barriers preventing low-income families from getting the health care they need, including difficulty juggling work schedules and appointments (when you're in a minimum-wage job, chances are good you won't have the flexibility to duck out to take your little one to a clinic) and simply not having a family doctor.
The clinics would be run by Sick Kids and St. Michael's hospitals, and would likely be open one day per week after school. It's not just hearing and eyesight that these clinics would be handling, but rather that those barometers cast a harsh light on the severity of this particular health care gap.
I also find this interesting in terms of the discussion thread happening on my blog post on childhood obesity earlier this week. Perhaps more so than banning junk food in school vending machines and cafeterias, having easy access to pediatric physicians who can monitor body mass index could be a key step in the right direction.
But as commenter Yuki suggested in her insightful explanation of why low-income families aren't preparing and eating healthful meals, the real solution could be to "make basic cooking classes and hands-on nutrition a mandatory part of the curriculum so our provinces' children are better equipped to make healthy choices in the future and actually have the practical skills to execute them."
Some other headlines you don't want to miss today: