Mr Samuel Atuahene Antwi, a Nutritionist at the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate, has urged mothers and caregivers of toddlers not to stop sending them to the child welfare clinics popularly known as ‘weighing” even after they turn two.
Mr Antwi said even though such children were still expected to be seen at the centres for the necessary care and observation, every six months until they turned five, mothers and caregivers abruptly stopped taking the vaccines.
He gave the advice during a health promotion dialogue, “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,” a Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative aimed at promoting health-related communication and providing a platform for health information dissemination to influence personal health choices through improved health literacy.
Mr Antwi said the continued visits to the child welfare centres help health providers pick up and detect some defects in the children for early interventions, explaining that defects are especially related to developmental stages such as speech, walking, and others.
He added that the ‘weighing’ also help in growth monitoring and promotion, as the child’s weight would be checked and plotted on the gender-appropriate graph to check for normal growth or any deviations.
The Tema Metro Nutritionist bemoaned the behaviour of some mothers when they send their children to the welfare clinic, saying “some mothers come appearing too busy and only want the child to be measured quickly for them to leave.”
He reminded them that the clinic was not only for weighing, noting that the time was also used for counselling on proper childcare, as the future of the children depends on the kind of care they receive in their childhood.
He further said mothers receive training on how to properly feed the child, both during the exclusive breastfeeding period and during complimentary feeding, adding that family planning services, food demonstrations, hygiene, the use of mosquito nets, and birth certificate registrations are all available at the child welfare clinics.
Mr Antwi again said the children also receive vitamin A supplements and other vaccinations that help prevent sickness and infant mortality.
The 13 vaccines children receive by age two include BCG, Hepatitis B, yellow fever, measles-rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, influenza, rotavirus, polio, and meningitis A.
“GNA-Tema Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,” according to Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager of Ghana News Agency, is a public health advocacy platform that was designed to examine the four techniques of health communication: informing, teaching, persuasive, and urging.
Mr. Ameyibor noted that through the weekly health dialogue forum, the GNA platform serves as an excellent communication route for medical practitioners to educate the public about healthy practises and other general health concerns.