Malnutrition and disease is usually a vicious cycle. Children suffering from diarrhoea, pneumonia and tuberculosis are at risk of malnutrition due to loss of nutrients and poor dietary intake.
At the same time, malnourished children are at a higher risk of infections due to compromised immunity.
Malnutrition is the leading cause of death among children under five years. A malnourished child has a higher likelihood of dying from diarrhoea and pneumonia than one who is not malnourished.
According to the World Health Organisation, under-nutrition is also a consequence of repeated bouts of illness, which can ultimately be fatal. Luckily, there are vaccines against these diseases for children under five years in all health facilities in the country. The current child immunisation schedule includes vaccines like BCG, Oral Polio Vaccine, Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV), Measles Vaccines and others to prevent infections like tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, pneumonia, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B and measles. There is also the tetanus vaccine for women of reproductive age to prevent neonatal tetanus.
In addition, micronutrient deficiencies like Vitamin A, Zinc and iron deficiency also highly contribute to the malnutrition burden. To enhance child survival and growth, the Ministry of Health has integrated these services in such a way that if you take your child for immunisation, they will also receive micronutrient supplementation.
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