Child Health Summit - Child Health Champions Chart a Clear Course for Canada's Children and Youth



    OTTAWA, April 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association, the
Canadian Paediatric Society, and The College of Family Physicians of Canada
launched Canada's Child Health Iniative (CHI). We believe that one of the main
priorities of our society must be to provide the conditions in which Canadian
children and youth can grow up healthy.
    It was for this reason that we convened Canada's first ever Canadian
Child Health Summit with the clear objective of achieving consensus on the
goals and actions required to improve child and youth health in Canada. Today,
we have made significant progress obtaining that goal.
    Child health in Canada is at a critical juncture. Poor health in the
early years can place children on a damaging trajectory for the rest of their
lives. It is therefore vital that Canada focus it efforts on the significant
health challenges faced by Canadian children and youth.
    To provide the focus needed participants at the Child Health Summit,
Canada's Child Health Champions, have developed three important documents to
deliver on our goal, those being:

    
    - The Child and Youth Health Charter: The Broad Vision, Goals and
      Objectives for Improving Child and Youth Health in Canada
    - The Child and Youth Health Challenge: The Specific Actions that are
      Required to Realize the Goals and Objectives of the Charter
    - The Child Health Declaration: Representing a Collective Commitment of
      all Child Health Champions to making Child and Youth Health a national
      priority.

    Canada's Charter for Child and Youth Health:

    To reach their full potential, children need to grow up in a place where
they can thrive - spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and
intellectually - and get high-quality health care when they need it.
    Child Health Champions have come together to develop a Charter based on
the principles that all Canadian children and youth must have access to a safe
and secure environment; good health and development, and a full range of
health resources.

    Child and Youth Health Challenge:

    Because a Charter alone will not deliver on the vision that Canada's
children and youth will be the healthiest in the world, the Child Health
Challenge was developed to identify a specific action plan to implement the
goals and objectives of the Charter. It targets governments, agencies and
individuals who by virtue of legislation, regulation or policy have the
ability to affect change for children.
    While approving five broad pillars of a Challenge, Child Health Champions
have identified three immediate priorities for action:

    - The Creation of a Commissioner for Canada's Children and Youth to
      advise, investigate, coordinate and report annually on the health and
      well-being of Canadian Children
    - The Establishment of specific Child Health Goals,Targets and Policies
      to focus efforts, actions and investments as well measure and evaluate
      progress.
    - The Development of an Aboriginal Child and Youth Strategy to address
      the special need of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and youth.
    

    Child Health Declaration:

    Canada's Child Health Champions recognize that improving child health
will require the collective participation of governments, businesses, health
care providers, parents and communities - with the active participation of
children and youth. It also requires a collective commitment to action.
    To that end, Canada's Child Health Champions came together today to
express their collective commitment by signing a Declaration that commits them
to the vision of working together toward the goal of ensuring Canadian
children and youth have best possible opportunity to realize their full
potential.
    We would particularly like to acknowledge the participation of the
business community - especially our sponsors, Bell Canada, Microsoft and APCO
Worldwide. They realize that the health of our children and youth is not only
a medical issue, it has an impact on our economy, our productivity, our human
resources, and our future as a nation.

    Canada's Child Health Initiative (CHI) - Moving Forward:

    While the Summit has achieved important progress, CMA, CPS, and CFPC
recognize there is still much more to do. Therefore we commit to further
engagement with stakeholders and the public, especially Canadian children,
youth and parents. We also recognize the need to develop partnerships with
others organizations and groups to exchange information and further develop
policies and action to improve the health of Canada's youngest citizens.
    We recognize that improving child and youth health will take time,
sustained commitment and adequate resources. However, we believe now is the
time for action. Together with Canada's Child Health Champions, we believe we
can build the momentum necessary to make a difference in health of Canadian
children.
    Further information on the Child Health Summit can be accessed at:
www.ourchildren.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Steve Wharry, Media Relations, Canadian Medical
Association, (613) 298-4669; Olivia Craft, Senior Public Relations
Coordinator, Canadian Paediatric Society, (613) 850-4868; Jayne Johnston,
Communications Manager, The College of Family Physicians of Canada, (905)
629-0900 ext.303


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