Need stressed for efficient preventive healthcare network

KARACHI (APP) - A senior pediatrician of the country Prof. Abdul Ghaffar Billoo, has called for a strong and effective network of preventive health services in the country. He was addressing doctors, nurses, lady health workers and lady health visitors at the certificate distribution session of a series of four training workshops sponsored by UNICEF in collaboration with Nutrition Support Program (NSP) of Sindh Health Department at Pediatric Department, Unit One, Civil Hospital, Karachi.  The pediatrician emphasised the importance of having the will and wish among the health-care providers to work for improving the nutritional status of mother and child. Prof. Abdul Ghaffar Billoo, a prominent personality of national and international fame in the field of pediatrics and public health stressed the need for preventive health services by health-care providers. "You can most effectively counsel for safe water and food consumption, routine immunization, breast feeding and adequate diet to young children," he told the participants. Prof. Billoo observed that through adoption of these simple measures, considerable reduction in death and diseases in children could be achieved. "Since malnutrition targets women and the young children," he hoped that training such as the conducted on "Infant and Young Child Feeding Counseling" would go a long way in helping health personnel in their work. He also hoped that the participants would practice what they learned and pass on these skills to their co-workers. The pediatrician, who had served as Chairmen of Pediatrics Departments, Civil Hospital - Karachi and Aga Khan University Hospital respectively, urged for special focus on the nutrition and prevention from the diseases under all mother and child health-care programs. The series of workshops was conducted and supervised by Course Director, Prof.D.S.Akram. It was attended by Doctors and LHVs from Public Health Facilities in Karachi including Public Health School, Children Hospital-North Karachi, MCH-Nazimabad, SGH-Korangi, SGH Liaquat Abad etc. Participants also came from Shah Bhitai Hospital Latifabad-Hyderabad and Taluka Hospital at New Hala. Programme Manager Dr. Dur-e-Shehwar Khan welcomed the guests and emphasised the importance of training health personnel to give proper information and support to mothers regarding breast-feeding and complimentary feeding. She said that this training course was an Integrated course, combining previous course on breast-feeding and complimentary (Solid Food) feeding of infants. The Course is "Skill-Based" meaning the participants "learn" by "doing". Prof. D. S. Akram quoted that all over the world as many as 53% of children below 5 years of age die directly or indirectly due to malnutrition.  "Thus out of 10.8 million such children over 5 million deaths are caused by malnutrition." said Dr. Dure Sameen Akram. To prevent deaths among women and children information and demonstration to mothers and their families is imperative, she said adding that this could only be done by health personnel at the community level (Lady Health Workers) as well as in hospitals at every opportunity available to counsel mothers. Training of Health Workers is therefore essential for them to learn skills of effective counselling and knowledge and awareness of the correct messages to give to women with infants and young Children, said the Course Manager. Dr. Shakir Mustafa offered vote of thanks.

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