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JAMA 75 Years Ago
October 24/31, 2007

Paris: Consultation Centers for Infant Welfare

Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(16):1950. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.1950-c

Foreign Letters

Prof. Pierre Budin founded, in 1892, a society that today may be counted among the societies that have brought about the greatest progress in puericulture in France, the administration of which, since his death, has been continued by his wife. These are the consultation centers for nurslings, which were created at first as annexes of the obstetric services of hospitals but today are installed in any convenient building of a populous faubourg or of a village . . . Very little expense was attached to these dispensaries until they took on the added duty of supplying free milk to poor mothers. Infants are brought to the center every week by their mothers. They are weighed, measured and examined, and the data are entered in a record book. The physician gives also any advice needed as to general hygiene, the quantity of milk the child requires daily and how often it is to be breast fed or is to receive a bottle . . . This regular supervision of infant care has rendered an important service . . . It has contributed to the gradual lowering of infant mortality in France, which was especially high in the rural sections and in the families of workmen. In place of 150,000 deaths of children under 1 year of age, in 1892, there are at present only 70,000 deaths . . . The success of this type of dispensary, new at the time of its creation, was rapid, and similar organizations were soon created in other parts of France and in foreign countries. A recent study has shown that, at present, twenty-five years after the death of Budin, there are in France 4,000 consultation centers of the type that he introduced. They are unequally distributed over France, being dependent on the action of the municipal councils and the amount of the small appropriations that they decide to accord them. Savoy is at the head of all the French departments, having a consultation center for nurslings for each commune. It has been noted with regret that there are some departments in France without a dispensary, owing to the lack of understanding of the need on the part of the department councils . . . 

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