Centro per la Salute del Bambino - onlus, Trieste
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Key words: Child health, Child health services, Italy, Inequalities, Service integration, Health promotion, Family paediatrics
The article comments on the White Paper produced by the Italian Society of Paediatrics about child health and child health services in Italy. Although the main child health indicators are quite satisfactory and there is evidence of improved efficiency of the health services for children, there are still important regional and social inequalities, and the quality of care in several areas, especially for chronic diseases, is patchy. There is the need to proceed with system rationalization, for example by further reducing the number of neonatal intensive care units, small paediatric units and referral specialty centres in order to ensure more efficient, effective and responsive care at all levels of the system. The Italian model of family paediatrics should be maintained but needs to be supported by a stronger community nursing component and to develop better links with the social and educational systems in order to become more effective in promotion of health and development and care of children with special needs. Emerging issues such as mental health, second generation migrant children and environmental exposure need to be better understood and addressed. Market and media regulations are necessary. Finally, family-focused social policies are needed to better support children and families in a period of economic crisis.
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