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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Child Survival And Development. (1986-7)

The Government of Pakistan and UNICEF are engaged in a cooperative programme to promote child survival and development. Despite the crisis which looms large over the life and health of children in Pakistan, there are sanguine indications that potential for progress is enormous.
The technology and the knowledge now exist which can drastically reduce the infant mortality and morbidity rate by mobilising all sections of the society.
The postal campaign is designed to imbibe the parents with this new knowledge about child protection which can greatly curtail the incidence of disease and death among children within a relatively short space of time. In brief these simple health measures are:
1. Growth Monitoring
2. Oral Dehydration Therapy
3. Immunization
4. Breast feeding
Malnutrition afflicts infants early and is sometimes invisible even to the mothers. It starts a vicious circle which is self perpetuating and claims the lives of thousands of children. For mothers, a visual aid like the growth chart will make the weight gain pattern of the child visible. Weight is a vital measure of health and growth, and malnutrition is the most fundamental cause of childhood debility and ultimately death. The regular plotting of a child’s weight alerts mothers to any faltering in growth, which can then be countered by extra food or medical attention.
Acute diarrheal diseases are the major killers of children claiming 30 to 40 percent of deaths. Caused through dehydration, such deaths could be averted with oral dehydration solution (ORS), available in a prepackaged mix or easily made at home with three simple ingredients; sugar, salt and clean water.
The six most common infectious diseases which directly claim the lives of almost 60 percent of children in Pakistan are easily immunizable. Under the Accelerated Health Programme launched by the government in 1983, the percentage of children immunized against the major diseases has risen from 2 percent in 1982 to 70 percent in 1986. To reduce infant mortality, Pakistan is committed to achieve complete immunization coverage by 1990. Immunization of infants begins with vaccination of mother during pregnancy against tetanus.
Breast milk is the ideal infant food, being nutritious and providing immunity against many infections. It is an established fact that the babies fed on the bottle are more vulnerable to malnu-trition, diarrhea, infection and ultimately death. The promotion of breast feeding is an important determinant of healthy growth and mental development of children.
To highlight the Child Survival Postal Campaign, Pakistan Post Office is issuing one postage stamp of 80 Paisa value on October 28, 1986.