It’s hard to imagine that just over 100 years ago, about 10 per cent of all babies died before their first birthday.
This high infant mortality rate was the catalyst for the international infant welfare movement, known today as the Maternal and Child Health Service.
Fast forward 100 years and there are 1200 Maternal and Child Health nurses across the state, including nine in Mitchell Shire.
They offer each child 10 key age and stage assessments, where their health, growth and development are monitored at regular intervals.
Council’s Maternal and Child Health Service also has a range of free services including breastfeeding and nutrition support, sleep and settling support, first-time parent groups, parenting and immunisation advice, as well as help to link families to other services within the community.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the Maternal and Child Health Service was vital for parents and carers with children from birth to school age.
‘‘Our staff are highly trained and can help you with everything from first-time parent support groups and advice on feeding, to referrals to allied health professionals and in-home support with sleeping,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘There were 546 babies born in Mitchell Shire in 2015-16 whose parents or carers are so lucky to have free access to these wonderful services.’’
Council plans to hold an event later this year in recognition of all the Maternal and Child Health staff that have helped our community over the years.