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Early education and care: the best start for Australian children?

By 2020 all Australian children should ‘have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.’ That’s the aim of the National Early Childhood Development Strategy developed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), and comes from overwhelming evidence about the vital importance of early learning in shaping [...]

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How some children miss out from the start: will telling their stories help make a difference?

What is it like to grow up poor in Australia? We learnt something about this from a recent Four Corners program investigating the experiences and perspectives of children from the disadvantaged Sydney suburb of Claymore. The program made compelling and also upsetting viewing. The children’s focus was not so much on the material things that [...]

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How children are bearing the cost of increasing prisoner numbers

Continuing a Croakey series examining the forces which can  have a profound on health but are often neglected in health debate and policy… Below is an edited extract from a new book from Catholic Health Australia, Determining the Future: A Fair Go and Health for All, which outlines how the recommendations of a 2008 report [...]

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The evidence backs action on junk food advertising to kids – but it’s not all that’s needed

Health policy analyst Jennifer Doggett’s recent post critiquing calls for a ban on junk food advertising to children has drawn a strong response from Jane Martin, Senior Policy Advisor at the Obesity Policy Coalition. Jane Martin writes: After accusing the Obesity Policy Coalition and other health groups of ‘over-simplifying the issues around junk food advertising [...]

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Influenza vaccination and children: weighing up the evidence

As has been widely reported, the Food and Drug Administration recently sent CSL a warning letter raising concerns about its manufacturing processes and the company’s investigation into problems with its influenza vaccine for children, Fluvax (which has been marketed in the US as Afluria). The letter, dated 15 June, asked for CSL to respond within [...]

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A cautionary note about calls to crack down on chiropractic

A few weeks ago, Health Minister Nicola Roxon received a submission calling on the Government to close a chiropractic paediatric clinic run by RMIT University in Melbourne, and raising concerns about the use of chiropractic in babies and children. The submission was from Loretta Marron, a regular contributor to Crikey/Croakey, cancer survivor and a former [...]

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A plea for some real political action for children with disabilities

So many issues haven’t made it on to the election radar. Indigenous health, rural and remote health, preventative health…and the list goes on. While there has been some talk of improving services for children with a disability, Bob Buckley, Convenor of Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, would like to see far more action. He writes: “Bill [...]

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Breaking news: influenza vaccine remains suspended for young kids

This statement has just been issued by the Chief Commonwealth Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop. “After consideration of the results to date of a comprehensive investigation into the safety of the seasonal flu vaccine for young children, I have advised, that as a precaution, the suspension of seasonal flu vaccination should continue for healthy children [...]

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Cough and cold medicines and children: an education campaign needed

For those who follow the field, the TGA’s plans to restrict availability of cold and cough medicines for children comes as no surprise. At the risk of a gratuitous self-plug, the use of these medicines in young children was one of the issues of concern that Ray Moynihan and I highlighted in our book, Ten [...]

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