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Published on 29 March 2012
By Manish Joshi, Program Manager, ChildFund PNG
Last week the ChildFund PNG team held a Children’s Day, which saw children from three villages come along to the local primary school for a day of games, activities and health checks. In PNG, we hold one Children’s Day per year in each community we work with – it just keeps getting bigger and better.
On this day, we had a very successful immunisation and health camp. Children aged from just a few months to five or six years came with their mothers and other caregivers in one of our best turnouts yet. We immunised them, we measured their weight and height, and all their health records were updated. We do already carry out immunisation patrols in this area but because three villages were coming together for this event, it was a great opportunity to do something on a bigger scale.
So many children were immunised and when we were looking through their health cards there were a few children whom I personally saw had not had any health checks for the past year – this is due to lack of awareness about healthcare and lack of facilities. So it was really good that we, along with the government aid post workers, organised this camp along with our trained village health volunteers.
There were also lots of games and traditional dancing and food, like bananas, yams and taro. Before eating, we did some handwashing exercises with the children. It is not very widely practised in these areas, which contributes to high levels of sickness and even death among children, so we demonstrated ways of conserving water and using water for washing hands.
We distributed library books to the primary and elementary schools there, which were provided through ChildFund’s Donations with a Difference program. We were able to purchase over 3,000 books, which we are distributing in 21 schools.
Two sets of solar panels and lights were handed over to the local aid post, along with a steriliser and solar panel and light for the labour ward at the district health centre. We also distributed 400 anti-malaria bed nets to the communities in the three villages.
At night, we had an awareness quiz involving five teams of children. They had to answer questions relating to health, water and sanitation, education, HIV and AIDS. It was a great way to raise awareness about these issues in a fun way and was very much appreciated by the whole community.