The Consultatiebureauby Olga Meckling
I arrived in the Netherlands in 2009, with a 6 week old baby, a MA thesis to write and a head full of worries. I had visited the Netherlands from time to time to see my then-boyfriend, and I knew that the Netherlands was unique where pregnancy, birth, and childcare are concerned. I was worried that the medical system was not good enough, and it was pretty confusing to me who would be performing the regular check-ups and vaccinations. Also, one of the reasons why I had given birth in Germany was that I was not sure if I trusted the Dutch system enough as it is very different from what I knew from Poland and Germany. I knew I would have to learn the language and get used to the fact that some things are just different here.
I found out that children in the Netherlands receive their check-ups and vaccinations at the so called Consultatiebureaus. These are medical centres specialising in the health and well-being of children up to 4 years of age. Both doctors and nurses work there, and their service is for free. I sent an email specifying my address and received a response with the Consultatiebureau closest to me. First a nurse came to my house to explain what Consultaciebureaus are for, and to ask some questions about my daughter. Also, they sent somebody to do the so-called 'hielprik' where they take blood from the child's heel to check for various genetics diseases. I was told that they send those samples in and that they would contact me should any of those tests turned out to be positive. Luckily, this was not the case. After that, I started going to the Consultatiebureau for the regular check-ups.
The first few visits were about a month apart, then they became less and less frequent. The children are also vaccinated there. In my case, because I am Polish, Klara received the Hepatitis B together with the regular vaccinations, although this is not the case for all the countries. At every appointment they took her weight and measurements, asked questions about her well-being, and checked her development. They also provided advice about current problems like introducing solids, sleeping problems, and later dealing with temper tantrums. However, they can't prescribe medicines, so if your child is ill, the family doctor is the place to go, not the Consultatiebureau. Also, some of the advice I received was rather confusing, and didn't fit into my situation at all. They could make a better job of listening to my concerns instead of waiving them off as 'normal'. All in all, it's great to have a place like this. It's close to your house, and all the tests and check-ups are being done.
Friday 13 July 2012 at 04:25 am.