16 key family practices

  1. Breastfeed infants exclusively for about six months (taking into account WHO/UNICEF/UNAIDS policy and recommendations on HIV and infant feeding).
  2. Starting at about six months of age, feed children freshly prepared, energy and nutrient-rich complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or longer.
  3. Provide children with adequate amounts of micronutrients (vitamin A and iron, in particular), either in their diet or through supplements.
  4. Take children for a full course of immunizations (Bacille Calmette-Guerin, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus, oral polio vaccine and measles) before their first birthday.
  5. In malaria-endemic areas, ensure that children sleep under recommended insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
  6. Promote children's mental and social development by being responsive to the child's needs for care, and stimulating the child through talking, playing, and other appropriate physical and affective interactions.
  7. Continue to feed and offer more fluids to children when they are sick.
  8. Give sick children appropriate home treatment for infections.
  9. Recognize when sick children need treatment outside the home and take them for health care to the appropriate providers.
  10. Follow health workers’ recommendations regarding treatment, follow-up and referral.
  11. Dispose of faeces (including children's faeces) safely, and wash hands with soap after defecation, and before preparing meals and feeding children.
  12. Ensure that every pregnant woman receives the recommended four antenatal visits, recommended doses of tetanus toxoid vaccination, and is supported by family and community in seeking appropriate care, especially at the time of delivery and during the postpartum/breastfeeding period.
  13. Take action to prevent child abuse, recognize it has occurred and take appropriate action.
  14. Adopt and sustain appropriate behaviour regarding HIV/AIDS prevention and care for the sick and orphans.
  15. Ensure that men actively participate in providing childcare, and that they are involved in reproductive health initiatives.
  16. Prevent and provide appropriate treatment for child injuries.