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23.05.2007 Health

Send Children To Welfare Clinics

A lot of children risk dying from preventable diseases because their parents have not been sending them to child welfare clinics, Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses, the National Child Health Co-ordinator, has said.

She explained that when children were sent to welfare clinics, it enabled health personnel to detect any likely health problem early in order to recommend the appropriate treatment.

"Through welfare clinics we get to know whether a child is growing well or not," she stressed, and added that children sent to such centres were also protected against diseases because of the immunisation and Vitamin 'A' supplement they received.

Dr Sagoe-Moses, who was speaking in an interview on the Child Health Promotion Week observed nationwide from May 7 to 11 this year, said pregnant women were not attending ante-natal clinics, while those who did were not regular.

"Ninety-two per cent of pregnant mothers visit ante-natal clinics once or twice during their pregnancy, while less than 50 per cent deliver with skilled personnel," she said.

She attributed the high infant mortality rate among children below one month to infections such as tetanus, diarrhoea, pneumonia, difficulty in breathing and prematurity, saying those conditions resulted from the fact that pregnant mothers did not attend ante-natal clinics.

Dr Sagoe-Moses, therefore, urged pregnant women who were concerned about having healthy children to report early to ante-natal clinics and be regular, adding that any delays meant the inability to avail themselves of the various kinds of treatment required.

She said children should be sent to welfare clinics till they were five years, adding that mothers whose children were growing up should not feel shy when sending them to welfare clinics.

The Child Health Promotion Week started four years ago and it is celebrated in the second week of May every year.

The theme for this year's celebration was, "Care for the new-born, start right."

According to Dr Sagoe-Moses, about 1,445,511 children nationwide from age zero to five years were targeted this year to receive free Vitamin 'A' supplements, immunisation against childhood diseases, re-treatment kits for bed nets, tetanus immunisation, birth registration among others.

Story by Augustina Tawiah