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Imbonezamuryango. 1985 Aug;(3):50-2.

[Program to combat communicable diseases in children].

[Article in French]



The project for the struggle against childhood diseases began in Rwanda in 1984. Lack of birth spacing, malnutrition, unhealthy environments and infectious diseases sicken and kill children in all of Africa, and many may be alleviated by simple measures. The project focuses on diarrhea and malaria, attempting to reduce mortality by 25%, administering chloroquine to children with fever and pregnant mothers for malaria, and oral rehydration therapy (ORT) for diarrhea. Goals are breastfeeding and gradual weaning being as universal as possible, and proper alimentation for sufferers of infant diarrhea. ORT is expected to be administered by the mother herself, and should reduce the 60% to 70% of diarrhea deaths caused by dehydration. Measles, whooping cough, neonatal tetanus, polio, diphtheria, and tuberculosis among children will be the targets of innoculation campaigns. All of the diseases are major child killers in Africa; measles are responsible for an estimated 31.3% of child deaths from 1 to 4, 10.3% in the 1st year of life. Community oriented primary care of the type necessary to execute these programs is not presently a priority among medical personnel; it should become an important component of medical education. Education to counter ignorance and the designation of the family as the primary instrument of good health will assure child survival and eliminate the need for multiple births to maintain the family.

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