Lääketieteellistä opetusmateriaalia. Professori Arvo Ylppö kehitti lasten terveydenhoitoa Suomessa ja lääkäreiden opetusmateriaali oli realistista. Ylää olevassa kuvassa on ” Ylpön lapsia”, vauvojen kasvoja, joissa näkyy yleisiä lastentauteja. Tuhkarokko on edelleen maailman tappavin tauti, suomalaislapset rokotetaan rokkoja ja vaarallisimpia tauteja vastaan.Alla oleva juttu (toimittelin sitä vähän) oli eniten luettu artikkeli viime kesänä BBC:n verkkosivuilla. Monet matkailijat olivat entistä kiinnostuneempia Suomen äitiyshuollosta, lastenhoidosta ja lapsilisistä.
”Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes?
Helena Lee, BBC News, June 2013
For 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.
It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it’s designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life.
The maternity package – a gift from the government – is available to all expectant mothers.
It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.
With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.
Mothers have a choice between taking the box, or a cash grant, currently set at 140 euros, but 95% opt for the box as it’s worth much more.
The tradition dates back to 1938. To begin with, the scheme was only available to families on low incomes, but that changed in 1949.
”Not only was it offered to all mothers-to-be but new legislation meant in order to get the grant, or maternity box, they had to visit a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy,” says Heidi Liesivesi, who works at Kela – the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.
So the box provided mothers with what they needed to look after their baby, but it also helped steer pregnant women into the arms of the doctors and nurses of Finland’s nascent welfare state.
In the 1930s Finland was a poor country and infant mortality was high – 65 out of 1,000 babies died. But the figures improved rapidly in the decades that followed.
Mika Gissler, a professor at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, gives several reasons for this – the maternity box and pre-natal care for all women in the 1940s, followed in the 60s by a national health insurance system and the central hospital network.
During World War II, flannel and plain-weave cotton were needed by the Defence Ministry, so some of the material was replaced by paper bed sheets and swaddling cloth.
The 50s saw an increase in the number of ready-made clothes, and in the 60s and 70s these began to be made from new stretchy fabrics.
In 1968 a sleeping bag appeared, and the following year disposable nappies featured for the first time.
Not for long. At the turn of the century, the cloth nappies were back in and the disposable variety were out, having fallen out of favour on environmental grounds.
Encouraging good parenting has been part of the maternity box policy all along.
”Babies used to sleep in the same bed as their parents and it was recommended that they stop,” says Panu Pulma, professor in Finnish and Nordic History at the University of Helsinki. ”Including the box as a bed meant people started to let their babies sleep separately from them.”
At a certain point, baby bottles and dummies were removed to promote breastfeeding.
”One of the main goals of the whole system was to get women to breastfeed more,” Pulma says. And, he adds, ”It’s happened.”
He also thinks including a picture book has had a positive effect, encouraging children to handle books, and, one day, to read.
And in addition to all this, Pulma says, the box is a symbol. A symbol of the idea of equality, and of the importance of children.
”There was a recent report saying that Finnish mums are the happiest in the world, and the box was one thing that came to my mind. We are very well taken care of, even now when some public services have been cut down a little,” she says.
- 1938: Finnish Maternity Grants Act introduced – two-thirds of women giving birth that year eligible for cash grant, maternity pack or mixture of the two
- Pack could be used as a cot as poorest homes didn’t always have a clean place for baby to sleep
- 1940s: Despite wartime shortages, scheme continued as many Finns lost homes in bombings and evacuations
- 1942-6: Paper replaced fabric for items such as swaddling wraps and mother’s bedsheet
- 1949: Income testing removed, pack offered to all mothers in Finland – if they had prenatal health checks (1953 pack pictured above)
- 1957: Fabrics and sewing materials completely replaced with ready-made garments
- 1969: Disposable nappies added to the pack
- 1970s: With more women in work, easy-to-wash stretch cotton and colourful patterns replace white non-stretch garments
- 2006: Cloth nappies reintroduced, bottle left out to encourage breastfeeding
Would you put your baby or toddler outside in the freezing cold for their lunchtime nap? Most Nordic parents wouldn’t give it a second thought. For them it’s part of their daily routine.
”Especially in the winter when there’s lots of diseases going around… the kids seem healthier.”
Hulluudesta Arppeanumin museossa:
Mielisairanhoidon historia osoittaa kuinka hulluus on ollut pelottava tauti ja mielenterveyshoito on ollut hyvin alkeellista ja julmaa.