Essential Facts for Life messages

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Essential Facts for Life messages

Post by mr.banker on Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:49 am

Essential Facts for Life messages

The following are the essential messages distilled from Facts for Life.

1. The health of both women and children can be significantly improved
when births are spaced at least two years apart, when pregnancy is
avoided before age 18 and after age 35, and when a woman has no more
than four pregnancies in total.
2. All pregnant women should visit
a health worker for prenatal care, and all births should be assisted by
a skilled birth attendant. All pregnant women and their families need
to know the warning signs of problems during pregnancy and have plans
for obtaining immediate skilled help if problems arise.
3. Children
learn from the moment of birth. They grow and learn fastest when they
receive attention, affection and stimulation, in addition to good
nutrition and proper health care. Encouraging children to observe and
to express themselves, to play and explore, helps them learn and
develop socially, physically and intellectually.
4. Breastmilk
alone is the only food and drink an infant needs for the first six
months. After six months, infants need other foods in addition to
5. Poor nutrition during the mother's pregnancy or
during the child's first two years can slow a child's mental and
physical development for life. From birth to age two, children should
be weighed every month. If a young child does not gain weight over a
two-month period, something is wrong.

6. Every child needs a series of immunizations
during the first year of life to protect against diseases that can
cause poor growth, disability or death. Every woman of childbearing age
needs to be protected against tetanus. Even if the woman was immunized
earlier, she needs to check with a health worker.

7. A child
with diarrhoea needs to drink plenty of the right liquids breastmilk,
fruit juice or oral rehydration salts (ORS). If the diarrhoea is bloody
or frequent and watery, the child is in danger and should be taken to a
health centre for immediate treatment.

8. Most children with
coughs or colds will get better on their own. But if a child with a
cough is breathing rapidly or with difficulty, the child is in danger
and needs to be taken to a health centre for immediate treatment.

Many illnesses can be prevented by good hygiene practices using clean
toilets or latrines, washing hands with soap and water or ash and water
after defecating and before handling food, using water from a safe
source, and keeping food and water clean.

10. Malaria, which is
transmitted through mosquito bites, can be fatal. Wherever malaria is
common, mosquito nets treated with a recommended insecticide should be
used, any child with a fever should be examined by a trained health
worker, and pregnant women should take antimalarial tablets recommended
by a health worker.

11. AIDS is a fatal but preventable disease. HIV,
the virus that causes AIDS, spreads through unprotected sex
(intercourse without a condom), transfusions of unscreened blood,
contaminated needles and syringes (most often those used for injecting
drugs), and from an infected woman to her child during pregnancy,
childbirth or breastfeeding. It is essential for everyone to know about
HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. The risk of infection through the
primary sexual route can be reduced by practicing safer sex. Women who
are or could be infected with HIV should consult a qualified health
worker for information, counselling and testing to protect their health
and reduce the risk of infecting their infants.

12. Many serious
accidents can be prevented if parents or caretakers watch young
children carefully and keep their environment safe.

13. In
disaster or emergency situations, children should receive essential
health care, including measles vaccination and micronutrient
supplementation. In stressful situations, it is always preferable for
children to be cared for by their parents or other familiar adults.
Breastfeeding is particularly important at this time.
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