Mrs Soulmaz Rostami1
1Children’s Health Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Evidence suggests populations experiencing greater vulnerabilities encounter health inequities. They become more disadvantaged in engaging available primary health care services, resulting in poorer health outcomes. Children’s Health Queensland launched a contemporary and novel Child Health ‘Pop-Up’ model aiming to increase equity and provide a more responsive and flexible service delivery for families with complex needs. The Child Health ‘Pop-Up’ model takes the existing model of care directly to locations that are more accessible for families, helping to increase uptake and utilisation of the service.
The 2018 AEDC data helped inform which communities Child Health Pop-Up clinics roll out. Eleven communities in South-East Queensland were trialled from 2019 to 2020. The Pop-Up clinics incorporated a multi-disciplinary partnership between health, education, ECECs and other local services, with a strong emphasis on reaching the most vulnerable children that would not normally access Child Health Services. Child Health nurses “pop-up” for the day, at a child-friendly venue (e.g. primary schools, ECECs, neighbourhood centres, etc.) to offer free child health developmental assessments, including a range of physical, emotional and social well-being, taking up to an hour per child. The Pop-Ups at local primary schools target Prep students (4 to 5 years old), whilst ECECs focus on 2 to 3-year old’s that show developmental delays. Referrals to GPs for those requiring allied or specialist services from the assessment allowed continuity of care.
As Child Health Pop-Up clinics were delivered in vulnerable communities, we experienced a high percentage of children requiring referrals to specialised services. If it were not for these Pop-Up clinics, these children would not have been assessed and their families not supported to receive referrals to respond to their health needs. Pop-Up clinics allowed health services to assess and intervene early, to support children for a better start in life when entering school.
Soulmaz works at Children’s Health Queensland, at the Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing, with a strong passion for health promotion and prevention. She holds a Master’s in Public Health with over 13years of experience in population health. She specializes in health inequalities for children and youth, focusing on health prevention and community capacity building. She is extremely passionate in learning to respond to the social determinants of health, through the use of novel approaches to complex issues, enabling a process of change and capacity building in local populations to take charge of the health and wellbeing of their communities.