Mr Samuel Boateng Arthur, the Executive Director of Clickgold Association, a Health NGO, on Wednesday advised parents to start immunization of their children right from birth and continue till the child was two years old.
He said it had been realized that although immunization was to be continued till the child was two years old to ensure full protection, most parents abandon the process after the first year, exposing the child to greater danger of being affected by any of the childhood killer diseases, and defeating the entire purpose of the vaccination exercises.
He explained that it was at age two, that children were given Meningitis A, and the second dose of Measles Rubella vaccines as a top-up to the ones given at the ninth months of the child.
This, he said completes the immunization cycle, and ensured that children were fully protected against any forms of deadly childhood diseases. Mr Arthur gave the advice at a durbar at Kotobabi in Accra, as part of the “Good Life” campaign, to educate the community on the importance of childhood immunization, maintaining good hygiene, as well as good nutritional practices for the child, lactating mothers, and pregnant women, to ensure their full protection against killer diseases.
It was organized by Clickgold Association, which was also a member of the Coalition of NGOs in Health in collaborated with the Centre for Disease Control of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Red Cross and Mullen Lowe, an American-based company.
Mr Arthur said protecting children from preventable illnesses at an early stage was crucial for their wellbeing and development, and required the full commitment of all stakeholders including parents, the health sector as well as the government, to build a healthy population.
According to him the introduction of immunization against the childhood killer diseases such as Polio, Measles, whooping cough and Meningitis and supplementing their vitamin A deficiencies, had led to an improvement in the wellbeing of children and also contributed to the current reduction in under-five mortality.
He said the measles vaccination although was given at nine months, needed to be topped up at age two to complete the full cycle and encouraged all parents to remain committed to the wellbeing of their children by accessing these services from to their community health posts, to ensure the maximum security of the country’s future generation.
Madam Tani Aduko Bukari, a Senior Nutrition Officer, with the Mamobi General Hospital, advised mothers to adhere to the six months exclusive breastfeeding practice, saying, the benefits outweighed the complains often reported.
She said children who were breastfed exclusively for six months, were not only academically endowed due to the high quality of their brain development, but had generally good health. She also provided some tips on quality supplementary diets for children after six months of breastfeeding, and advised the mothers to avoid feeding their babies with wayside cooked foods, but to rather prepare these any form of traditional meals themselves, which should be devoid of spices, and to ensure the retention of the quality of the nutritional values.
Ms Cecilia Arthur, the Kotobabi Community Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) Zonal Head, and other Community health professionals took turns in educating the gathering on the importance of pre and post-natal care.
They also gave some advice on available family planning services to help protect women and also aid them in the evenly spacing of their children for good health.