National Health Week time again!
Maputo, 6 May 2013. National Health Week kicked off today in Mozambique, with plans to reach about 4 million children under the age of 5 throughout the country, in what has become a cornerstone of national child health promotion.
Launched in 2008 and organized by the Ministry of Health, the bi-annual National Health Week has grown from year to year, and includes all health centers in every district of the country. It mainly targets children under the age of 5 and women of reproductive age. But family planning services are, for example, also offered more widely.
“It is easily the most important week of the year in terms of child health, with millions of children reached with key services such as immunization,” says Dr. Roberto de Bernardi, UNICEF Mozambique Officer-in-Charge. UNICEF is one of the main partners of the Ministry of Health and supports the government in both the design and rollout of the campaign, as well as in provision of supplies, such as vaccines, vitamin A and Mebendazol (for deworming).
This year, services offered include Vitamin A, nutritional screening and deworming, as well as polio vaccines offered to more than 4 million children under 5, as well as a birth registration service.
Birth registration was introduced as a pilot component of the health weeks last November, and is being rolled out more widely this year, with a target of a minimum of 50,000 registrations by the end of the campaign on May 10. This is realized in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, through registration offices and teams in the field, and could increase the number of children with official registration documents substantially, if targets are met.
Messages informing the wider community about National Health Week and the services provided have been airing on TV and radio in Portuguese and local languages for weeks. Community leaders, activists and health workers are also involved in spreading the information and making sure the turnout is high.
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