Caregivers on the road to health

Taryn Boonzaaier, dietician at Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre, explain healthy nutritional meals for children to the mothers at the event.

Preventative measures such as regularly washing hands to avoid diarrhoea, good nutrition for children, the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, sufficient stimulation, love, regular health check-ups and the importance of immunisation were the key factors communicated to parents and caregivers at the Western Cape Government Health and City of Cape Town Health Side-by-Side Campaign held on Thursday October 25 at the Lentegeur civic centre.

More than 200 parents and caregivers attended the campaign at which the department launched the new Road to Health booklet
and educated parents and care-
givers on hygienic healthcare measures to prevent diarhoea and pneumonia during the surge season, which is more prevalent during November and May annually, said Western Cape health department
spokesperson, Monique John-
stone.

Ms Johnstone said the Side-by-Side campaign was initiated by the National Department of Health to ensure that all children in South Africa receive the care and protection they need to reach their potential.

“Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of death and illness among children under 5 years globally. Diarrhoeal disease is especially prevalent in summer because of more flies and higher water infection which leads to a higher number of cases reported during November to May every year,” she said.

Infants and toddlers are more at risk of diarrhoea because they can dehydrate quickly.

“If the diarrhoea signs and symptoms in a child are not addressed immediately, the child can die within a few hours if not treated correctly,” she said.

“Your children could be suffering from diarrhoea if they have a fever, are vomiting, have a runny tummy, have blood in their stools, or refuse to eat or drink,” said Dr Graeme Spittal, pae-
diatrician at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital.

If your child has some of these symptoms, take them to the nearest health facility immediately. Don’t wait in the queue, go straight to the receptionist and tell them that your baby might have diarrhoea, he advised.