Well Child Tamariki Ora (WCTO) services is now a part of third year midwifery students’ curriculum across the South Island, to provide them with additional education on the programme before entering the workforce.
The initiative was led by WCTO Quality Improvement South Island Project Manager Anna Foaese, in conjunction with Ara Institute of Canterbury and Otago Polytechnic, after an opportunity was identified for child health services to provide additional information to undergraduate midwifery students. “It’s essential that Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) are well equipped with up-to-date knowledge and resources regarding child health services, particularly WCTO,” she says. “This will enable a coordinated and seamless transfer of information for families from their LMCs to WCTO services.”
To deliver the content, Anna worked with child health services and midwifery lecturers to create the four-hour workshop sessions. The topics include learning about the purpose of the WCTO programme and what it offers, entitlements for families, referral pathways, and the choice of providers.
The sessions were offered to 3rd year Midwifery students at ARA Institute of Canterbury and Otago Polytechnic in November. Along with seven Well Child providers, a range of 11 other guest speakers presented at the workshops, including representatives from newborn hearing screening, breast feeding, oral health, maternal immunisation and maternal mental health.
Building on the need for greater integration between maternity and Well Child Tamariki Ora services, the workshops provide soon-to-be registered midwives with the information and resources needed to advise women and their families about Well Child services, Anna says. “This will ensure families are making informed decisions, and receive timely, coordinated and collaborative child health services.” WCTO is a free health service offered to all New Zealand children, from birth to five years. Its aim is to support families and whānau to maximise their child's developmental potential and health status, thereby establishing a strong foundation for ongoing healthy development.
To enhance and improve WCTO services across the country, Anna is one of four regional project managers funded by the Ministry of Health until June 2017, to support facilitation of quality work. The child health workshops are now a compulsory part of the midwifery student’s ‘intensive block’ before they graduate each year, Anna says. “Better preparing newly registered midwives with more information about Well Child Tamariki Ora services will ensure families are more connected and engaged – ultimately improving health outcomes for children in New Zealand.”