On March 7th 2006, the Sri Narayani Hospital & Research Centre, conducted a Peadiatric Camp. The General Superintendent Dr. Surendra Babu also attended the camp. The camp started with a prayer requesting the blessings of Sri Sakthi Amma. A welcome speech was delivered by the Camp Co-Ordinator, Mr. Murugasen.
The Primary Goals of this program:
• To find and curb Malnutrition and other Vitamin Deficiencies in under privileged children
• To create awareness among the people about the importance of Nutrition and the Problems that arise due to the lack of proper Nutrition
Malnutrition is common and very dangerous, especially in children. Of the total number of children who die from Malnutrition in India, about one-third of them are children under the age of five years. Many die because they are malnourished or because they catch diseases like measles on top of their malnutrition. Any infection may make malnutrition worse and lead to a quicker death. We need to treat both their malnutrition and their infections.
Marasmus means starvation and it is a severe form of malnutrition. It is easy to diagnose; a child with marasmus is small and very thin with no fat under the skin. The muscles are wasted and the skin covering the bones is thin and loose. The skin on the face looks shrivelled like an old person. The child is frail and weighs only about half the normal body weight for his age. He may also have chronic diarrhoea and other signs of dehydration.
The cause of marasmus could be that the mother has died and the child has no milk, or had too little breast milk, or was given only small rations of milk. The child’s diarrhoea could be caused by drinking contaminated milk because no-one sterilized the feeding bottle. Further malnutrition could happen if the family stopped feeding the child thinking it was the right treatment for
diarrhoea; not knowing that a child with marasmus needs more food.
Kwashiorkor is another form of malnutrition also called wet malnutrition. It is caused by not eating enough protein in the diet. A child with Kwashiorkor may look fat, but he will have oedema which causes the feet, hands and face to swell. When the swollen parts are pressed the fingers makes a hole because there is too much fluid under the skin. The child may be over-weight because of the oedema, but when the oedema is cured, the weight drops.
The child with kwashiorkor also has sores with peeling skin and his hair loses its natural colour. He is also likely to have diarrhoea. He is unhappy and is not active like other children of his age. Kwashiorkor is most common in children of about 1 ½ years of age. Most often, it first appears when a child has diarrhoea or another infection such as measles.
It is important for everybody, especially mothers to know that children need lots of nutritious food to grow well and stay healthy.
A total of 66 patients registered for a physical examination and check-up by Dr. Srinivasa Prasad. Accordingly, free medicines were also given to the patients.
Apart from this, the Health Care professionals conducted a nutrition awareness program teaching mothers and care givers how to take care of children. The following pointers were also given:
1. Give breast milk up to 2 years. Spacing the family helps
2. Give other nutritious foods also, starting at 4 months
3. Boil the water which the child drinks
4. Keep children and their surroundings clean
5. Get prompt treatment for any infection and have them immunized on schedule.
6. Bring the child regularly to the Paediatrician
Health Education on nutritional diets was given by the Dietician, Ms. Jayanthi.
With the help of Dr. Srinivasa Prasad, Ms. Jayanthi and the Community Health Team, the Paediatric Camp ended successfully.