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Ontario Improving the Health of Mothers and Babies

New Programs Increase Access to Maternal and Child Health Care Services

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.

“This is great news to help babies have the best start to a healthy future.  As a nurse, I am also pleased Ontario’s 2017 budget is expanding health care and providing free prescription medication to young people,” said Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry.

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.

Ontario is also helping thousands of people fulfill their dreams of starting or growing a family. Since the government launched the Ontario Fertility Program in December 2015, it has provided more than 6,500 people with funding for in vitro fertilization and related services.

Ontario's investment in the health and wellness of mothers and babies will have a significant impact on lifelong health outcomes and quality of life, and is the foundation to a healthy population and a sustainable health care system.

Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare - protecting health care today and into the future.

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