Urges government’s accelerated health service delivery initiative to reach every child
KAMPALA, 29 April 2004 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Uganda today congratulates the Ministry of Health for announcing a new initiative to further improve the health status of Ugandan children and women. “Child Days,” which the Ministry will formally inaugurate 3 May with the support of UNICEF, WHO and other partners, focuses on accelerating routine health service activities using outreach systems in place at the district level, and to do so twice a year.
Activities throughout May, in all of Uganda’s 56 districts, will include provision of Vitamin A supplementation to children aged 6 months to 5 years; routine and catch-up measles immunizations for children under age 1; de-worming programmes for children aged 1 to 5 years; and vaccinations against maternal and neonatal tetanus for pregnant women.
Planned activities also include de-worming programmes and provision of high doses of Vitamin A for at least 90 per cent of children, aged 6 months to 5 years, who live in settlements for the internally displaced in conflict-affected areas of northern and northeastern Uganda.
Public awareness messages on the benefits of breastfeeding, sleeping under insecticide-treated nets, and other health, nutrition and sanitation issues in the community will be disseminated during the month. A second “Child Days” is being planned for November 2004.
UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Martin Mogwanja, said the Ministry of Health should be congratulated for its leadership in organizing the integrated activities, and said the underlying aim should be full implementation.
“This initiative is to uphold the basic right of every Ugandan child to the highest standard of health and healthcare services, wherever that child may be,” he said. “We can make a real difference only when we are sure no child has been excluded.”
“UNICEF is especially hopeful that the activities in May can ease the suffering of children living with the lasting impact of the conflict in northern and northeastern Uganda, but this by no means is the final solution. Children in those regions have every right to good health as their peers elsewhere, and it is up to all concerned parties to swiftly and peacefully end the fighting so that this right can be attained,” he said.
UNICEF support for the “Child Days” implementation includes the provision of funding, supplies and equipment, and technical assistance.
For more information, please contact:
Vincent Orinda, Senior Project Officer, UNICEF Early Childhood Care & Development, Kampala 077 733476