The Child Health Programme under the (RMNCH+A) Strategy of the National Health Mission is an initiative to comprehensively integrate interventions to improve child health in India and their nutrition status. The program also aims to successfully address factors contributing to neonatal, infant, and under-five years mortality and malnutrition.
RMNCH+A strategy of the National Health Mission, as mentioned above, refers to the wholesome Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Strategy. Goals for Child Health are also laid down in important policies and plans like National Population Policy, National Health Policy, Twelfth Five Year Plan, Sustainable Development Goals, New National Health Policy, and National Health Mission.
Important Features of the Child Health Programme
Facility-based newborn care - Sick newborns or preterm or low-birth newborn identified soon after birth or during the home visit are referred to special newborn care facilities for better and further health management and long-term follow-up even after discharge. Newborn Care Corners and Special Newborn Care Units are established to provide essential newborn care. Facility-based newborn care includes the Newborn Specialization Unit, Navjaat Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, the National Training Package for Facility Based Newborn Care, and the empowerment of frontline healthcare service providers.
Infant and Young Child Feeding - The importance of breastfeeding in reducing child mortality has been established. Promoting breastfeeding and optimal Infant and young child feeding practices via the public health system is another important intervention area of the Child Health Programme.
Nutritional rehabilitation Centre - Another important aspect of the Child Health Programme is, Nutritional Rehabilitation centres are set up to provide facility-based nutritional and medical care to children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) under five years of age. Special emphasis is given to improving mothers' child care and feeding practices and skills to ensure adequate care at home.
Supplementation with Micro Nutrients - As a part of the National Iron Plus initiative, the initiation of intermittent bi-weekly provision of iron and folic acid syrup via ASHA to the children is directed at tackling the high prevalence of anaemia across age groups. Equal emphasis is on administering the Vitamin A doses to ensure that a child receives 9 Vitamin A doses by the age of 59 months.
Reduction in Morbidity and Mortality due to acute respiratory infections and Diarrheal diseases and Supplementation of Micro Nutrients, Universal Immunization Program are other key aspects of intervention of the Child Health Programme.
Child Health Programme - Areas of Thrust
Neonatal and child health
This comprises essential newborn care, facility-based sick care for newborns, and both home-based newborn care program and home-based young care program.
This emphasises optimal infant and Young Child Feeding Practices, Mother’s Absolute Affection Program (MAA), micronutrient supplementation, management of severe malnutrition in children, and National Deworming Day.
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Management of Common Childhood Illness
Management of Diarrhoeal diseases and severe respiratory infection in childhood
The thrust is on intensifying routine immunisation, eliminating deaths in children caused by measles and Japanese Encephalitis, and Polio Eradication.
FAQs on Child Health Programme
Q.1. What is Child Health Programme?
Ans. The Child Health Programme is launched to comprehensively integrate interventions under the National Health Mission to improve child survival and address infant and under-five mortality factors.
Q.2. What are the trends in Child Health Indicator for Child Health Programme?
Ans. Trends of Child Health Indicators are:-
- Infant Mortality Rate
- Under-five Mortality Rate
- Neo-Natal Mortality Rate
- Causes of Neo-Natal Mortality
Q.3. What is the goal of the Child Health Programme?
Ans. A significant reduction in IMR, NMR, and CMR by 2000 was envisioned by the National Health Policy 1983. The Child Health Programme has adopted the achieving the same goal.
Q.4. What is the Child Health Programme's Child Health Goal under SDG (Sustainable Development Goal)?
Ans. The SDG Goal regarding child health is to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age. The goal is to reduce neonatal mortality to as low as 12 per 1000 live births and the Under-five mortality rate to 25 per 1000 live births.