Parents and guardians of children aged under five years have been encouraged to patronize the services of the Child Health Promotion Centres popularly known as weighing centres, irrespective of the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has come to light that most parents stopped visiting the centres as required monthly due to the pandemic; Mrs Joyce Asare, Tema General Hospital Nutritionist has stated at Tema.
She said parents must not be afraid to visit the centres for fear of contracting the virus as all they needed to do was to strictly adhere to the preventive protocols.
Mrs Asare said “don’t keep your child at home and deprive them of their immunizations because of COVID-19, all you need to do is to obey the protocols”.
She gave the advice during food demonstration, weighing session and free medical consultation exercise at the Tema Community seven satellite market as part of a programme lined up for the celebration of the 2021 Child Health Week celebration.
The celebration is on the theme: “Sustaining Child Health Services in the midst of COVID-19”.
She said apart from getting the children immunized at the centres, parents also received the education best caring systems for children and free nutrition counselling.
Conducting a food demonstration, she urged parents and guardians to ensure that their children consumed food from the four-star diet daily which comprised of staples, legumes/seeds/nuts, plants sources of protein, and animal sources.
She also revealed that the Ghana Health Service had introduced a new vitamin and mineral pack to be given to children aged six months to 23 months, and could only be assessed from the weighing centres.
A child is entitled to a pack, which contains 30 sachets of powdered vitamins and nutrients to be mixed with their cooked semi solid food to supplement their micro nutrients.
It contains 15 vitamins and minerals covering vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B3, B4, B6 and B12, as well as Folic Acids, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Selenium and Iodine.
Dr Audrey Frimpong-Barfi, Head of Tema General Hospital’s Pediatric Unit, encouraged parents to practise good hygiene, trim the nails of their children, provide them with nutritious males and avoid giving them junk food and fizzy drinks.
Dr Frimpong-Barfi also reminded parents to ensure that children below five years slept under treated mosquito nets to prevent them from contracting malaria as the hospital continued to see a high number of malaria cases among children.
She advised parents to give their children ORS water and zinc whenever they experienced diarrhea adding that breastfeeding must continue with it even with stomach upset.
Nii Darko Wellington, a father of a two-year old daughter, after assessing the services of the health officials during the exercise expressed satisfaction at the programme and encouraged fathers to be involved in sending their children to the health promotion centres.
He said, “If the mother carried the baby in the stomach for nine months, let us the fathers also take over their health care, it’s important we patronize the weighing services for the benefit of our children”.
The programme was also used to provide free Body Mass Index (BMI), and blood pressure screening and health advice for traders and residents.