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Lockdown impacts on monthly child weighing

Health facilities in Serowe have registered a decrease in the number of under-five children turning up for monthly welfare services during the period the country was on nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. 

Serowe District Health Management Team (DHMT) focal person for the Integrated Management of Childhood Issues (IMCI), a programme under which the child welfare clinic falls, Ms Leungo Gwapela revealed in an interview May 22 that out of the over 5 500 children usually seen at the facilities each month, only about 4 000 turned up in April.

Ms Gwapela indicated that for the months of February and March, the 10 child welfare facilities in Serowe, which comprise seven clinics and three mobile stops, saw 5 725 and 5 586 children being brought for monthly weighing, respectively.

She said figures, however took a dip in April as only 4 097 children were brought for weighing.

Ms Gwapela, a nurse based at Kadimo Samson Clinic, attributed the decrease to a couple of factors, among them, fear in the general public of contracting COVID-19 as well as misinformation as at some stage before the country went into lockdown, health officials had informed the nation that only children due for immunisation could be brought for their monthly check-ups.

She appealed to parents and guardians to bring children who had missed their monthly weighing appointments to health facilities for assistance, saying the Serowe DHMT had already embarked on a public sensitisation exercise on the issue.

She noted that a team was on the ground raising awareness through the use of public address system, whereas at all health facilities in the Serowe catchment area, health education talks on the subject were being offered daily to those visiting facilities.

On the positives, Ms Gwapela said the Serowe DHMT facilities had recorded an improvement in the weight of children coming for their monthly weighing after the lockdown.

That, she said was likely an indication of the fact that since everyone was home, parents and guardians had the opportunity to ensure that children were well fed.

In the end, Ms Gwapela said it was imperative for parents and guardians to know and understand the importance of attending child welfare clinics, saying clinics not only monitored the weight of children but also offered a range of other crucial services.

Among such, she cited immunisations, supplementary feeding as well as care for malnourished children, and general education on the growth of a child. Ends

 

Source : BOPA

Author : Keonee Kealeboga

Location : Serowe

Event : Interview

Date : May 22 Fri,2020

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