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It's Child Health Week Again

© UNICEF/Zambia/2010/Christine Nesbitt
A health worker marks a young boy's finger to show he has been vaccinated against measles at a health outreach post in Lishiko village.

MEDIA RELEASE

Senga Hill in Mbala District of Zambia, 19th June, 2011 – The Ministry of Health and partners today launched the first round of the National Child Health Week Campaign in all nine provinces of Zambia.

Child Health Week is an activity targeted to reach all children below 5 years with lifesaving interventions including immunizations, deworming and Vitamin A that are provided free at all government health facilities. Special emphasis is now to reach every child particularly in hard to reach areas.

Child Health Week is also expected to contribute to the reduction of stunting by providing a package of highly cost-effective interventions in addressing the causes of child malnutrition. Stunting in children under five is unacceptably high in Zambia at 45% and has remained unchanged over the past 2 decades. Zambia has now identified reduction of stunting as a national priority and is preparing to move to a whole new level of actions under the 1000 days program. This program will focus on the prevention of stunting from the beginning of pregnancy to the second year of life, and will ensure that every Zambian child reach his/her full development potential for a brighter future.

The Minster of Health, Honourable Kapembwa Simbao, MP, called for strengthening of routine immunization of children.

“Let me hasten to remind the parents and guardians that they should take advantage of the routine immunization and ensure that the scheduled vaccinations for their children are done. They should not wait for Child Health Weeks to have their children vaccinated,” said Dr. Simbao.

UNICEF Zambia Representative, Dr. Iyorlumun Uhaa, emphasized the importance of Child Health Week and called upon parents to reciprocate by taking their children under 5 years of age to the nearest clinics for child health services.

“Government and cooperating partners have once again ensured that child health services are brought even closer to your home. It is now upon you the fathers, you the mothers, and all of you members of the community to ensure that all children are taken to the clinics to receive child health services starting Monday 20th – Saturday 25th June 2011. No child must be left behind.” Dr. Uhaa said.

And World Health Organization (WHO) Representative, Dr. Olusegun Babaniyi, commended the Government for progress recorded in reducing infant and Under Five deaths.

“I wish to commend the Ministry of Health for numerous curative and preventive activities being implemented. Significant improvements in child health indicators have been recorded which will lead to further reduction in infant and Under Five mortality and morbidity rates. This will help in the attainment of MDG number 4,” said Dr. Babaniyi.

To reach MDG 4 and 5 targets, the challenge is to strengthen routine services and to improve access and utilization of these services by women and children countrywide. The Ministry of Health uses Child Health Week to supplement routine health services and ensure that mothers and children who miss out on routine services such as immunization and vitamin A supplementation can get a second opportunity to receive these important interventions.

Child Health Week enables the delivery of a package of high-impact, low-cost child survival interventions. Over the course of the week, children, especially those in rural areas, will receive immunization, deworming medicines and Vitamin A. Mothers will also be counseled on key household practices such as breast-feeding and basic hygiene practices.

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For more information, please contact: Dr. Reuben K. Mbewe, Spokesperson, Ministry of Health on 260-1- 256920, rkmbewe@yahoo.com or

Mr. Patrick Slavin, Chief, Communications, UNICEF Zambia on 260-1-252055, pslavin@unicef.org

 

 
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