Ministry of Health Providing Funding for New ‘First Five’ Program

First Five Program Photo CKCHC

Ministry of Health Providing Funding for New “First Five” Program Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres Working to Connect Children Five and Under to Primary Care

LAMBTON COUNTY & CHATHAM- KENT – May 3, 2024 – North Lambton Community Health Centre and Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres are thrilled to share that the Ministry of Health is providing $536,723 in annualized funding to support a brand-new program, First Five, which aims to connect children between the ages of 0-5 years old with a primary care provider.

This new program launching in Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent, which will continue to be funded year over year, aims to increase access to preventative and health promotion care and services for young children in the regions, specifically those without OHIP cards or a primary care provider.
This good news comes following the Ontario Health West Provincial Pediatric Strategy, which seeks to invest in pediatric care for communities and geographic areas that fall outside of major urban centres.

“Ensuring that our youngest and most vulnerable population in Lambton County and Chatham-Kent have access to quality care in their formative years is vital to a child’s development and long-term health outcomes, and this funding will help us to deliver that care,” says Kathy Bresett, Executive Director, North Lambton Community Health Centre. “This new program will most notably benefit those young children living in rural areas or from low socio-economic backgrounds, who often do not have equitable access to health care services.”

Funding of the First Five Program is expected to result in an increase of access to immunization, healthy child development, early chronic disease prevention such as asthma and diabetes, as well as providing the correct care in the community to mitigate potential emergency department use for preventative care.

“We know that there are hundreds of children under five years of age in Lambton and Chatham-Kent who do not have a primary care provider; establishing this new program is vital for the health and wellbeing for our growing communities,” says Sherri Saunders, Executive Director, Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres. “Providing access to health care services for children at risk or in rural areas will address the social determinants of health, and in the long run, can change the trajectory of a child’s health later in life for the better.”

The First Five Program teams consist of a nurse practitioner and registered practical nurse at each site who provide services including well-baby/well-child checks, immunizations, developmental screening for physical and mental health milestones, assistance in navigating the health care system, nutrition support, episodic care for children experiencing acute illness and referrals to other community services as needed.

For more information or to have a referral made to Sarnia Lambton’s First Five Program please visit First Five Program – North Lambton Community Health Centre (, email or call 519-344-3017 and ask to speak with the First Five nurse.

For more information or to have a referral made to Chatham-Kent’s First Five Program, please email or call 519-397-5455 Extension 1.

CKCHC First Five

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