With the high risk period for diarrhoea, polio and pneumonia looming, health officials say they are on high alert and have urged parents to get their children immunised.
In a bid to reduce cases of infection, the provincial department of health is rolling out a supplementary immunisation campaign until Friday November 18.
During the launch of New Well Baby Clinic at the Gugulethu Community Health centre (CHC), on Tuesday November 1, officials said the campaign was aimed at increasing population immunity against the deadly polio, while also making supplements such as vitamin A supplements available.
The campaign is targeting children under the age of five years old, with the clinic opening from 4pm to 8pm daily to accommodate working parents.
The department said Vitamin A, deworming and nutritional screening will be available to help ensure that children have healthy, well-developed and nourished bodies.
The department also said that malnutrition and vitamin
A deficiency increased the risk of developing measles complications and that children should be regularly dewormed to prevent worm infestation which can also lead to malnourishment.
The clinic’s Dr Jennie Morgan urged parents to be vigilant during this time of the year and that health workers were on high alert and prepared to treat infections.
“Parents are encouraged to take their children to health facilities for free vaccinations against diseases such as rotavirus and measles. Immunisations are available at all city health clinics.
“We have launched a clinic that will cater for children during after hours.
“There is a vaccination schedule which starts at six weeks to nine months,” she said.
Dr Morgan said she was happy that in the last season there had been no outbreaks as parents had immunised their children but warned that complacency could lead to an outbreak of diseases.
“In the past two years there has been a decrease in (cases of) diarrhoea as well as a decrease in death and rotavirus,” she said.
She said diseases such as measles were preventable, especially if immunisation was up to date. She urged parents who were in doubt to visit their nearest clinics.
She said children with diarrhoea could also be assisted at home by giving them a sugar and salt mixture. The mixture is made up of eight teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt in a litre of boiled water. She also encouraged breastfeeding. She said the campaign was aimed at helping children to have a healthy and well developed mind and body.