London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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West Ham 1934

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for West Ham]

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plodding work of the past twenty years has produced a "clinicminded"
population who regard as its rightful due regular
medical supervision of expectant mothers and young children.
Dental treatment has been provided at the Council's Maternity
and Child Welfare Clinics for the last five years for expectant and
nursing mothers and for the pre-school child. There is great
improvement in this branch of the service in the increased willingness
of mothers to avail themselves of this treatment; there is less
prejudice against dental treatment for the pregnant women, and
it is definitely easier now to persuade an expectant mother to attend
the Dental Clinic than it was some years ago. The decision of
the Council in February, 1935, to assist the women in the provision
of dentures after extractions has already proved invaluable in
enhancing the popularity of this very important service for the
improvement of the health of the mothers. Many women previously
refused multiple extraction where there was no prospect of
subsequently being able to provide dentures.
Owing to the increased attendances at the Infant and Child
Welfare Sessions at Maybury Road Clinic, it was found necessary
to establish a third session in July, 1934. Attendances of
mothers and children at all the Clinics have been maintained
satisfactorily and regularly. It was found that 82.3% of the
infants born in 1934 attended a Welfare Centre during the year.
Through attendance at the Clinics the mother is put in touch with
the many facilities for the benefit of herself or her child, such as
convalescent treatment, sunlight, dental and orthopaedic treatment,
or admission to hospital. Treatment of a sick child is
definitely debarred at the Council's Clinics, whose work is purely'
preventive and educative, but, in all cases where necessary, the
means are available for a sick child to have treatment under the
Maternity and Child Welfare Services of the Council.
Dental Treatment.
As stated previously, dental treatment is provided for expectant
and nursing mothers and for the pre-school child through
attendance at the various clinics in the Borough. The dental
scheme for mothers has now been completed by the provision of
dentures in cases selected by the Dental Surgeon. This scheme
was urgently needed, and will do much to remove dislike of and
prejudice against dental treatment amongst the mothers. A
dental mechanic was appointed in May, 1935, to undertake the
work in conjunction with and under the supervision of the Council's
Dental Surgeon.
It is gratifying to note the great improvement in recent years
of the teeth of the toddler; this may be accounted for partly by the
better feeding of the infant and young child, and partly by the
better understanding of the parent in regard to the need for care
of the primary teeth. It is a rule at the Council's Dental Clinic
that a child who is referred for this treatment shall be re-examined
thereafter quarterly until he goes to school.