Second National Child Health Week to reach around 3.5 million children
Maputo, 4 October 2008 – A second National Child Health Week takes place in Mozambique from 6 to 10 October 2008 in an effort to accelerate the country’s child survival and development strategy and improve child health indicators.
Over the course of one week, around 3.5 million children will receive a package of health interventions including vaccination against measles, vitamin A supplementation and deworming medicine. In addition, 770,000 mosquito nets treated with long lasting insecticide will be distributed in Nampula Province.
The first Child Health Week, held from 31 March to 4 April this year, reached more than 2.8 million children with vitamin A supplement; more than 1.9 million children with deworming medicine. Also, over 432,000 children received iodine supplementation in four provinces – Niassa, Nampula, Tete and Zambézia.
The aim of the Child Health Weeks is to ensure that the country remains on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
Complementing routine immunisation
Despite the success of the nationwide measles vaccination campaign conducted in 2005 – which resulted in a 97 per cent reduction in measles cases between 2004 and 2007 – coverage of routine vaccination is still not high enough to stop the transmission of the virus.
Also, the most recent data available indicates that 69 per cent of children under five suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency affects growth, impairs vision, and reduces resistance to a wide range of infections and ailments, such as the measles virus, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.
The Child Health Weeks are meant to complement routine health services by ensuring that basic services reach all children – wherever they live – through fixed health units and mobile brigades.
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, the second Child Health Week is supported by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Red Cross, Population Services International and USAID.