Child Health Week offers various services

Monday, September 7, 2009

Giyani - Vitamin A supplementation, de-worming, catch up immunization and growth monitoring will be among the services offered during the Child Health Week.

Launching the week-long campaign on Monday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said these services will be offered in designated sites that include clinics, schools, crSches, community halls and temporary posts in all nine provinces.

Dr Motsoaledi said government was aware of some of the challenges facing mothers in accessing child health services, such as long queues, shortage of medication and many others.

In responding to these challenges, Dr Motsoaledi said this has been put high on the government's priority list to ensure that communities can use health facilities without any frustration.

He said the department was using different approaches like Child Health Week to ensure that the most cost-effective and life saving intervention reach all children.

Regular immunisation, Vitamin A supplementation, de-worming and growth monitoring improve overall child survival and contribute in the reduction of deaths from childhood illnesses such as meningitis, diarrhoea and deaths from measles can be reduced by 50 percent.

It is important that children get their Vitamin A dose and de-worming every six months until they reach the age of five.

Dr Motsoaledi noted that although South Africa have a good Expanded Programme on Immunisation and declared polio free in 2007, the country still have children who miss out on their routine immunisation schedule, hence the catch-up immunisation will be offered during Child Health Week.

He appealed to all parents with small babies to always look into the baby's Road to Health Card to ensure that there is no stage of immunisation that has been omitted.

He however, emphasised that by bringing services to the people, the department was not encouraging mothers to stop taking children to health facilities routinely.

"The benefits of this integrated package can only be realised if children receive Vitamin A and de-worming every six months, have their growth monitored regularly and are immunized according to schedule.

"We all have a responsibility to give our children the best start in life and in doing so, we will be able to produce more brilliant athletes like Caster Semenya, among others," the minister said.