Konyak- Early Childhood Development Most Secure Investment Apr 20
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Early childhood development most secure investment – Konyak

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Apr 20, 2023 2:59 pm
Early childhood development most secure investment – Konyak
P Paiwang Konyak, Y Kikheto Sema and others seen during the launch programme of ‘First 1000 Days’ in Kohima on Thursday. (EM Images)
KOHIMA — Minister for Health and Family Welfare P Paiwang Konyak said it is the responsibility of every individual to ensure that critical services reach to all the children and mothers for them to survive and thrive.

“Investing in early childhood development could be the most secure public investment to get the best returns and attain the full potential of our children,” the minister said.

Konyak was speaking during the launch of ‘First 1000 Days’ intervention programme organised by National Health Mission (NHM) under the department of Health and Family Welfare, on Thursday in Kohima.

He said the first 1000 days of a child refers to the baby’s life from the moment it is conceived until it reaches the age of two. This is a period of opportunity for the child’s physical, mental and intellectual development and a proper intervention during these 1000 days, starting from pregnancy, will have a major impact on the overall survival and quality of the child’s life, Konyak said.

The minister informed how he met Madhulika Jonayhan, chief of UNICEF Assam and Northeast, at his official residence two days ago and had discussions about the importance of the first 1,000 days of the young ones.

“As parents and families we are expected to have good knowledge about the 1000 days of a child’s life and utilise this knowledge for the betterment of the child’s future,” Konyak said.

“This knowledge will also help the parents about good child-upbringing practices, which will improve the thinking and stimulate the brain development of a child and thereby reach their full potential,” he said.

Reiterating that maximum brain growth, physical development and other cognitive skills of a child are developed during this period (1,000 days), Konyak added that critical intervention or services like Antenatal Care (ANC),  hospital delivery, timely vaccination etc. are all available in the government health facility centres and also during the village health and nutrition days.

Underscoring the need for every child to receive health and nutrition services for overall development, he said the message of good health for a healthy future can be reached to the community with the active support of civil societies, churches, student bodies, NGOs and the media.

The minister encouraged all the district health officers led by the chief medical officers to be committed to this “noble cause” to ensure that all the services should reach the last villages of Nagaland, in order to build a supportive environment of all these services for the upcoming generation.

To date, Konyak informed that the state immunisation percentage stands at 58 even as it was supposed to be 75% for hilly terrain states to avail additional funds for the health providers.

While acknowledging the challenges faced by the ASHA workers due to no-road connectivity, he also lauded their untiring efforts to reach out to every nook and corner of the villages in the state.

Konyak also informed that his department is also on a pilot project on ‘Birth Waiting Home’ in Mon and Kiphire districts. He said the project is to encourage institutional delivery under the care of skilled health providers and safety of the mother and child to reduce morbidity and mortality.

While apprising that the blood storage facilities in 13 districts are non-functional at the moment, the minister however affirmed that the same would be activated at the earliest possible time to ensure that no mother dies of excessive bleeding or for want of blood during delivery.

Commissioner and secretary of DoHFW, Y Kikheto Sema, stated that the interventions essential in the first 1000 days are quality, ANC, hospital delivery, breastfeeding, full vaccination, nutrition for children and mothers and early childhood development.

He informed that Nagaland has the lowest coverage of ANC, institutional delivery, and vaccination in the country.

Sema said some reasons for the low coverage of vaccination include traditional beliefs/customs that there is no need for delivery in a hospital, getting ANC check up or receiving vaccines.

Dr. Longri Kichu from UNICEF said that nine months (270 days) of pregnancy plus the first two years (365 days x 2) comes exactly to 1000 days, which is considered as the foundation of a child’s future.

He affirmed how science has proven that the foundation for optimum health growth, cognitive and neurodevelopment of a child happens during the 1000 days, with 80% of brain growth taking place during this period.

This state is critical for survival of the baby, Kichu stressed, adding that there are proven interventions available and any nutritional deficiencies like iron at this stage affects school performance. Representatives from NHM, Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Gynaecologists, District Hospital, Mokokchung, Social Welfare department, Naga Hospital Authority Kohima, WHO, Nagaland State Rural Livelihood Mission, Reproductive Child Health and DoHFW also threw lights on the importance of ANC and delivery at hospitals, nutritional support, breastfeeding and vaccination.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Apr 20, 2023 2:59:00 pm
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