Mother and child health week reaches millions across the country
Mozambique, 14 April 2010 – A nation-wide mother and child health week aiming to reach over 3.5 million children and all mothers of child-bearing age in the country with an integrated package of health interventions was held from 12 to 16 April.
The child survival package includes vitamin A supplementation, de-worming and vaccination for children under five years of age. Women of child-bearing age received vaccination against tetanus, and those who have recently given birth will received vitamin A supplementation (within the first week after birth) and iron and folic acid (up to three months after birth).
The child health week approach is part of an accelerated child survival and development strategy aiming to deliver basic health interventions proven to be highly effective in reducing mortality rates and improving child health. These week-long campaigns complement routine health services by ensuring that basic services reach all children – wherever they live, even the most remote communities – through fixed health units and mobile brigades.
This year, for the first time, a health package for women of child-bearing age has been introduced to help prevent neonatal deaths due to tetanus – a major cause of death during the first months of life. Iron and vitamin A supplementation will help to prevent anemia and boost the immune system among women who have recently given birth.
Routine immunisation coverage in Mozambique covers up to 80 per cent of the population, but big gaps remain between rural and urban areas – 82 per cent of children living in urban areas are fully immunised against only 46 per cent in rural areas. Similarly, children in disadvantaged households are less likely to be fully vaccinated as children in wealthy households.
The mother and child health week is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation, United Nations Population Fund, Population Services International, Save the Children Alliance, Hellen Keller International and UNICEF.