- Malawi aims to reach 2 million of its children with Vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets in one of its major health campaigns to reduce child mortality.
The campaign has seen the government of Malawi mounting a task force of thousands of volunteers and heath surveillance personnel, to cover the country's 28 districts, whose task will be to deliver the health supplies as well as educating parents on preventive healthcare needs.
"It is not acceptable that we still have children dying from malaria, malnutrition, and diarrhoea. This has to end, " said Health Minister Khumbo Kachali at the official launch of the campaign this week.
Malawi has received international recognition in the last few years for its efforts to reduce under-five mortality, from 221 in 1990 to 120 in 2006.
However, according to the Malawi Micronutrient Survey, Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in 59 per cent of pre-school children, facing a high risk of decreased resistance to illnesses, and are more likely to become blind or suffer from impaired performance in class and in sports.
"The Child Health Campaign is therefore a key strategy to increase the coverage of Vitamin A supplementation and reach every child with this important intervention," said UNICEF Representative in Malawi, Ms. Aida Girma, whose organisation is a key partner in the country's campaign.
In addition to Vitamin supplementation and deworming, the campaign will focus on behaviour change in areas, such as, infant and young child feeding, improved hygiene, and the use of insecticide treated bed nets.
Malawi is one of a handful of countries in sub-Saharan Africa that are on course to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds. This campaign is seen as key strategy to reaching the MDG target by 2015.
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