TORONTO - A global pandemic induces fear a Whether you are fortunate enough to be blessed with children or you are one who values their existence in this world, the main goal is to keep them safe and secure. They are the future of our society.
In previous editions, the Corriere Canadese has covered issues dealing with children’s health and well-being, and where Canada ranks among other wealthy countries on this public health issue.
According to UNICEF Canada’s report on the health of children, in “overall well-being”, Canadian youth rank 30th, out of 38 countries. This is a major problem. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated issues already present in the health of our nation’s youth.
The Children’s Health Coalition (CHC), a growing collective of healthcare providers across Ontario, is sounding the alarm and calling on the province to invest $375 million in children’s health care. It is needed. Over 160 thousand children and families are desperately waiting for health care treatment including hospital procedures and surgeries.
Families are forced to endure gruelling wait times for child development and rehabilitation services, including in-home pediatric care. Even prior to Covid-19 the need was urgent.
Children and families waiting for medically necessary services numbered in the thousands. For example, according to the CHC, over 80 thousand children were on waitlists for child development and rehabilitation services; another 28 thousand for mental health services.
The pandemic has prompted further delays for those children whose need for medical care is vital. At children’s hospitals across the province, the Coalition says over 30 thousand pediatric procedures and appointments have been cancelled.
Some kids who require home care are unfortunately doing without. The agony and frustrations for these families is unimaginable.
Some children have been waiting up to two and a half years for necessary surgeries. The challenges brought on by Covid-19 have made a dire situation more difficult.
Moreover, increasing Covid-19 case counts, heading into the cooler months, have many fearing the dreaded second wave has already commenced. This is alarming for families already experiencing a disruption in crucial medical care for their children.
In response to the concern of parents, the Minister of Health, Christine Elliot, addressed those taking part in the “Kids in Crisis Town Hall” on Thursday saying, “I want to reassure you that my ministry is looking at ways we can address the surgical backlogs and make sure children receive the services they need.”
Accelerating e.orts to reduce health service backlogs is just one key issue outlined in Ontario’s Fall Preparedness Plan, announced by Minister Elliott during Tuesday’s press conference.
Recognizing the importance of providing the right care, at the right time, is critical as children grow and evolve. Missed or delayed opportunities for timely medical care can lead to significant challenges in later years. Facing any sort of barrier, such as inability to access vital treatments, may greatly impact the life of a child. For some, unfortunately, a matter of life or death.