How can local health agencies improve health knowledge and skills of child care centre operators?
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As the number of child care centres increases across Canada, local health agencies are increasingly involved in health issues within these facilities. 90% of operators of the 98 child care centres in an Ontario community responded to a mail survey distributed by the local health unit to determine health needs in these facilities. Infectious disease was reported to be the major health problem of the children. 76% of operators requested information about infectious diseases, in particular through use of written materials made available to their centre. The level of education of operators was high with 79% having completed community college courses. Over 70% of operators had attended continuing education sessions or workshops on child abuse, growth and development and nutrition; fewer operators reported attending sessions on infectious diseases, child safety, parent-child relationships and dental health. As a result of the needs assessment, a health unit multidisciplinary team has met and initiated a number of activities including meeting with child care centre operators, publication of newsletter for operators, and development of educational materials.
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