Mothers get tips on keeping tots healthy

Mothers flocked to the Site B Community Health Centre to listen to speakers and health practitioners.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women received valuable tips on how to manage their children’s diet when the Site B Community Health Centre held the First 1000 Day campaign, on Wednesday June 6.

The campaign is aimed at reducing the mortality rate among children between the ages of newborn to 5 years in Khayelitsha. Women are taught the importance of proper nutrition during the first 1000 days of a child’s life.

According to the provincial Department of Health, Khayelitsha is a large and fast-growing community with an increasing burden of disease, such as HIV and Aids, TB, diabetes and high blood pressure. The department said nutrition played a big role in managing lifestyle diseases and maintaining good health.

Sithembiso Magubane, department spokesperson said: “Good nutrition during pregnancy and in the first years of a child’s life, also called the First 1000 Days, as it provides the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth and a strong immune system.” As part of the campaign, a team of nurses and doctors from the facility spoke to hundreds of mothers to highlight the most important aspects of the First 1000 Days of a child’s life. These include health and nutrition, love and attention as well as play and stimulation.Health workers said diseases could be managed through correct diet and healthy living. They encouraged women to take their children for immunisation until the age of 12.

Facility operational manager, Bernadette Wingrove, said mothers should know what was wrong and right for their own health and that of their children.

Ms Wingrove encouraged women to always come for children’s clinic days.

“We want healthy children.There is no excuse not to attend the clinic,” she said. “Children should come for their immunisations from 6 months until 12 years.”

Ms Wingrove stressed that babies should be up to date with their vaccination for polio, measles, hepatitis B, diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type B, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus (lock jaw), and tuberculosis.The department said studies had shown that physical and mental development of infants was quickduring this period while proper care and nutrition helped to develop their brains, fuel their physical growth, build a strong immune system and improve their school readiness and educational achievement. It also reduces their risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease later in life.

The mothers welcomed the initiative and some said they would to spread the message of healthy living to family and friends.