Child welfare clinics (CWC) form an important component of the health care system in Ghana and render invaluable health care services to children under five years. The Child Welfare Clinics are popularly referred to as “Weighing”. Parents are advised to attend these clinics regularly to help reduce the high infant deaths and diseases amongst newborns and children under 5 years.
The Child Welfare Clinic is a free service that allows parents to have babies below 2 years of age get weighed and immunized against childhood diseases or vaccine preventable diseases.
Birth registrations are also done for babies at birth or within one year during the CWC sessions.
We paid visits to the Child Welfare Clinics at the Manhean Health Centre and the Bankuman CHIPS. By the time of our visit, both facilities were packed with mothers who have brought their babies for weighing and immunization.This indicates a good sign of caregivers responding positively to efforts being made by the government and other stakeholders to eliminate child deaths and diseases.
Mr. Bernard Tamakloe brings his daughter for weighing regularly. When asked why he does it, he replied, “I did it for my first child and she is growing very strong and healthy. The regular visits helped us to monitor her growth and development. We got to detect some health related issues on time and alerted the nurses. If it worked well for my first child, it is just right for my second daughter to enjoy these same benefits”, he said with a smile.
Gloria Oforiwaa Aidoo is a Community Health Nurse at the Bankuman CHIPS under the Manhean Health Centre.
“At birth, BCG and polio vaccines are given to the children to prevent Tuberculosis and Polio. The pentavalent vaccine (a combination of five vaccines in one: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type b) is given to the child at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks after birth. Rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines are also given at the same times to prevent severe diarrhea and pneumonia in children.
Starting at 6 months, and at 6 months intervals thereafter, the Vitamin A supplement is given. This improves the skin and eyesight of the children.
At 9 months, immunization against measles and Yellow Fever are given. These are repeated on the 12th and 18th months respectively.”
Rejoice Sokpoli is a mother of four and resident of Bankuman. She brought her daughter to the CHIPS to be immunized and she shares her previous experience with us.
“When your baby turns 6 weeks old, you bring her for weighing. She will be given the pentavalent injection on both thighs. Your child will have a fever. When you get home, give her paracetamol syrup and put some ice on the site of the injection. The vaccines prevent the little sicknesses that affect children from affecting your child. So the injection taken at 6 weeks really helps your child to stay fit and healthy.”