Ontario is supporting mothers and babies with new and expanded health care services, including more midwives, enhanced newborn screening and increased supports for vulnerable babies.
John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and MPP for Ottawa South, was at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa where he highlight investments in the 2017 budget that will enhance health care for mothers and babies across Ontario. “I’m happy to announce funding to further strengthen newborn screening for all Ontario babies, and we are proud to be the first province in Canada to screen for critical congenital heart disease,” Fraser said.
More than 145,000 babies are born in Ontario each year. Ontario is improving access to health care for mothers and their babies with investments in new and existing programs, including:
- Newborn screening: Ontario will now screen all newborns for an enhanced range of diseases and conditions with the addition of a new screen for hearing loss, enabling families to receive treatment or language and early literacy support sooner. The province also recently added a new screen for critical congenital heart disease, to detect a range of heart defects in newborns that could cause life-threatening symptoms.
- Midwifery care: Expectant families will have more access and choice for low-risk maternity and newborn care with funding for up to 90 new midwives to begin delivering care each year in Ontario.
- Care for premature babies: Ontario is funding breast pumps for mothers of premature babies, to support the healthy development of these babies.
- Care for vulnerable babies: Babies born at a very low birth weight or who need surgery will benefit from Ontario’s Human Donor Milk Bank, which is a vital program that supports vulnerable babies.
- Free prescription medication: Beginning on January 1st, 2018, Ontario will be the first province in Canada to provide universal medication coverage for children and youth, regardless of family income. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs.
The Ontario Fertility Program started in December 2015 and has provided more than 6,500 people with funding for in vitro fertilization and related services.