To Protect Children’s Health is To Love Them

In order to protect children’s health, the Congolese government, UNICEF and their partners have organised the Children’s Health Days.

This is an event organised twice per year, during which children are offered a bundle of services which play a major role in their health. These undertakings take place from the 24th to the 28th of June 2014 in health centres and other sites (parishes, schools…) selected for these activities.

We, Angélique and Nathan, Child Reporters in Kinshasa, went on the field in the Ngaba community in order to find out about the situation.

The Mother and Child General Hospital

There were four tables on which worked healthcare workers, each in their field. The workers themselves, prefer the term POST.

The first post is that of sorting, and the worker is called a sorter; he is the one who receives children that arrive and indicates the service where they need to go. Usually, he is alone at his table.

The second post is that of de-worming with mebendazole. This helps to fight against intestinal worms and protects against anaemia. At this post, there is only one person: the community worker.

This is also where children receive the poliomyelitis vaccine and supplementation in Vitamin A, which helps to reinforce protection against infectious diseases, stimulates growth, and prevents malnutrition and blindness. Danilo Miakala, head doctor of the Ngaba health zone, explained to us:

We give children a Vitamin A supplement, but originally this vitamin is found in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, dairy products, eggs, milk, breast milk, etc.

The third post is occupied by two persons, nurses who offer the measles vaccine.

When we asked her why she came to get her children vaccinated, Mrs Bijoux replied: “You will only have yourself to blame when your child becomes handicapped since you refuse to get him vaccinated today.”

The last post is for the Pointer, who checks that the child has received all the care indicated by the sorter, and records the number of children.

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Saint Adrien Parish

At this second site, there were insufficient tables, but the healthcare workers were present in force, all working at the same table. “I came here to get vaccinated so that I can avoid illnesses,” explained Anastasia, a little girl who was waiting her turn.

The mobilisers

Every site has a mobiliser. He walks the streets to inform each and everyone about the health days.

In addition to this, mobilisers go to households, and speak to mothers about breastfeeding in the hour following birth, very important as this equates to the child’s first vaccine and is a very rich source of antibodies.

The mobilisers also urge all parents to register births so that each of their children can be recognised by the state. Pauline, who came with her only daughter, told us that she never registered her child, but she could not say why. Mrs Anastasia on the other hand confirmed that she registered her four children with the state on time.

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We, child reporters of Kinshasa, congratulate all these healthcare workers on their initiative. We urge all parents to ensure that all their children are breastfed after birth, registered with the state, receive enough vitamins, have no worms in their body and especially get vaccinated, because to vaccinate is to love, to vaccinate is to protect.

 

Read the Joint Press Release by the Government of the DRC, UNICEF and WHO on Child Health Days

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Angelique and Nathan in the field at the Mother & Child General Hospital of Ngaba

Photos: UNICEF RDC 2014 Justine Mounet

Translated from French by Anais Joseph

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Nathan

Nathan a 15 ans et il est au Collège Notre Dame du Congo à Kinshasa. Passionné de football, il joue milieu pour “organiser le jeu”. Plus tard, il veut être un avocat reconnu et travailler pour la Cour Pénale Internationale. Sa devise: “Que tous nous soyons un!”

Nathan is 15 years old. He studies at Collège Notre Dame du Congo in Kinshasa. passionate about football, he plays middle to "organize the game". He wants to become a renowned lawyer and work for the International Criminal Court. His watchword: “That we all are one”.

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