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

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West Ham 1946

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

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The children continued to show reasonably good dental
condition, but the expectant mothers almost always required
treatment. Although the response to appointments made for
them to attend the dental clinics has improved, there is, unfortunately,
a very prevalent "fear of the dentist" rather than
prejudice against dental treatment in pregnancy which was
common several years ago. Much propaganda and encouragement
is required in this matter, because only by personal
experience can the mother realise that her fear is unfounded.
Wherever necessary, the mothers have been provided
through the clinical service with dentures, generally to their
entire satisfaction. Extractions were carried out under general
and local anasthesia for mothers and under general anasthesiat or children.

Conservative treatment was always given to mothers and children whenever possible.

Dental Attendances for1946: —

Mothers.Total attendances2,851
Fillings331
Extractions3,243
Number supplied with dentures225
Children.Total attendances992
Fillings327
Extractions649
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DIPHTHERIA IMMUNISATION. Regular weekly
sessions were held throughout 1946 at the Council's Maternity
and Child Welfare Clinics. Since January, 1946, the work
has been carried out by the medical officers from Plaistow
Hospital. A "birthday" scheme was commenced in December,
1946, whereby a special card is sent to the parents of the
child on his first birthday, urging them to have the child
immunised, if not already protected. It is too recent to be
able to give any results, but, in my opinion, the most effective
propaganda work in this connection is done by the health
visitors in the course of their routine visits to the homes and
at the clinics, supplemented by "birthday" cards and supervision
at Child Welfare Clinics.
The number of children in 1946 immunised against
diphtheria at the Maternity and Child Welfare Clinics was
1,857. Where the child has not already had whooping-cough he
is immunised also against this infection by a combined treatment.
The infant receives his first injection at about 9-10 months of
age, and in place of a routine post-Schick test carried out
three months after the last injection, the mother is advised to
apply for a further injection just before the child enters school,
at about 4½-5 years of age.
SUNLIGHT AND ORTHOPAEDIC TREATMENT. By
arrangement with the Children's Hospital, Balaam Street,
Plaistow, E.13, 74 children under five years of age were referred
to the hospital clinic from the various Child Welfare Clinics
for Sunlight treatment.
43


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