Modern, Growing, Successful Province


03 SEPTEMBER 2009 – 11H00

Good morning and a warm welcome to all present. A special welcome to all the people of Cassel and surrounding communities in the John Taolo District present. We are gathered here today to celebrate, and most importantly launch the National Child Health and Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Campaign of the Department of Health.

As stated in the Constitution in Chapter Two of the Bill of Rights number 28: “Every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services. Furthermore, every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. A child’s best interest is of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.”

Our children are our future leaders. Importantly for us as adults, as parents and as leaders in government and in our communities, is to realize that it is our responsibility to ensure our children are raised in environments that are safe and conducive for healthy upbringing and living.

The principles of “Batho Pele – People first” are guiding us as to implement government’s mandate of providing a better life for all. It is the responsibility of government to uphold, implement and live these principles. The needs and challenges of our children in terms of health and education, must be on the forefront of all platforms that we engage.

The Department of Health is implementing various interventions to increase coverage of key child survival strategies. One of these strategies is the Child Health Awareness campaign, with special focus on the National Department of Health’s eighteen (18) priority districts. Moshaweng is one of the eighteen (18) districts that have been identified to receive increased support in improving maternal, neonatal, child and women’s health and nutrition at all levels of the health care system. Furthermore, the John Taolo Gaetsewe District is also one of the thirteen (13) rural nodes across the country that is identified for development via the Presidential development initiative plan.

The campaign offers an opportunity to strengthen the existing health system and deliver a package of essential child survival interventions.

This year the National Child Health campaign will take place from 07-20 September 2009 in all provinces at clinics and health centers as well as designated schools, crèches, community halls and other specially designated area.

The theme for the 2009 campaign is: “Caring communities love, care and protect children – let’s reach the unreached”. This year the campaign has been extended to include Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.

This campaign address the accelerated implementation of the HIV and AIDS plan and the reduction of mortality due to TB and associated diseases which forms part of Government’s 10 point plan for the health sector.

In addition, the campaign is also in line with the Northern Cape Department of Health’s focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission acceleration plan, maternal and infant mortality and combating HIV/AIDS and TB. These focus areas is also addressing the most common conditions in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District namely HIV/AIDS, TB, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and asbestosis.

During this year’s campaign all children between one(1) and five(5) years will receive the following:

* A Vitamin A supplement – Children should receive a Vitamin A supplement every six(6) months to help fight infections.
* De-worming : worms prevent the absorption of nutrients ad therefore prevent optimum growth
* Catch-up immunization : immunization protects children against communicable diseases. Remember to bring your child’s Road to Health Chart with
* Screening for nutritional status - children below 2 years should be weighed monthly and children 2-5 years every 3 months. Children’s Mid upper arm
circumference will be taken during the campaign.

During the Child Health and Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV campaign the promotion of the following services will be rendered for mothers and women of child bearing age:

* Awareness on Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV. It is important for everybody to know their HIV status. Women should come to
the clinic as soon they have missed a period
* Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV
* Couple Counseling
* HIV testing is done for all pregnant women at clinics on their first visit which should be before twenty(20) weeks and again at thirty(32) weeks
* If the woman test positive, she will receive dual therapy or ARV depending on her CD4 count
* Feeding options – discourage mix feeding (encourage (1) exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months or continue up to 2 years or (2) exclusive formula
feed) according to the AFASS criteria (Acceptable, Feasible, Affordable, Sustainable and Safe)
* Babies to be brought to the clinic for PCR/HIV and Aids tests for babies at six (6) weeks
* Reproductive Health is important as a planned family is a healthy family
* Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – give health education to pregnant mothers regarding the dangers of drinking and smoking during pregnancy
* To encourage communities to support HIV positive pregnant women and to eliminate the stigma and discrimination

I want to encourage all women and mothers to contact their nearest Primary Health Care Facility for more information and assistance if they are in need. Important to remember is to bring the child’s road to health chart(health card) with. Parents and caregivers should also take their preschool children monthly to a clinic or health centre to have their growth monitored and to check whether they are due for immunization, vitamin A drops or deworming.

We want to encourage all parents and caregivers to support the campaign by visiting their health care facilities and accessing all primary healthcare services available. The health of our children is our responsibility to ensure they grown up healthy and strong. We want to reemphasize again that regular immunization, vitamin A supplementation, deworming and growth monitoring improve the health of children and help to reduce deaths from childhood illnesses.

It is only through working together that we can achieve more in our fight against HIV and AIDS, improving the quality of health services and ensure health service excellence for all in our districts, our province and our country.

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