The Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its Partners will embark on a Sub-National Maternal and Child Health Week Campaign. The MCH week known as the (Mami en Pikin Welbodi wik) will target 8 districts around the Country. Starting today community health workers in Bonthe, Moyamba, Bombali, Port loko, Kambia, Karene including Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural will go on a house to house as well as facility immunization response, targeting children under five years with the much life saving health interventions. According to the Program Manager of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Dr. Tom Sesay said there is a need to integrate interventions when there is opportunity, because the ministry believes that health care includes nutrition for the healthy and normal growth of a child. He added that children 6-59 months will receive free vitamin A capsule, which is responsible for the growth of infants and young children. “Children 12- 59 months will be dewormed with Albendazole tablet to prevent worm infection, which will support children’s growth”. Dr. Sesay also informed that children 0-23 months who have defaulted for routine immunization services will be traced and referred for vaccination in the nearest government facility.
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The strategy of house to house campaign is to reach more parents and caregivers in the various communities, as the campaign has huge health benefits for the health and growth of young children and pregnant women. Local authorities, school administration and communities are encouraged to lead the process to ensure that Government meets its target of 95% coverage, especially in hard to reach and revering communities, which are most times left out. Aminata Shamit Koroma the Director, Food and Nutrition in the ministry, added that the objective of the sub-national campaign is to reach out to 95% of the over 500,000 children in the 8 targeted districts that were not in the selected routine immunization package, which other districts have earlier benefited from during the start of the year. She noted that nutrition is critical in early childhood development, which makes the child more responsive as he/she develops in life. “Pregnant women need to know about how to stay healthy during pregnancy using simple, but highly nutritious foods to keep both the pregnant woman and unborn baby healthy”. Aminata mentioned that a team from the nutrition directorate will accompany community health workers during the week long exercise to encourage and advise pregnant women on eating healthy to stay healthy. Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Wurie said immunization helps in the cognitive development of a child, noting that the failure of any sector in development to meet its set goals, seriously affects the health ministry. “It was for this reason we are now talking about one health approach, which is an integrated approach to target all sectors with health being the focal point”. Dr. Wurie disclosed that in addition to the routine campaign, all pregnant women in the mentioned 8 districts will also benefit from free HIV/AIDS counseling, testing and treatment for prevention of mother to child transmission.
By Ade Campbell
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