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Growth monitoring and promotion

Growth monitoring and promotion Growth monitoring and promotion

Growth monitoring and promotion of optimal growth are essential components of primary health care for infants, children and adolescents. Growth monitoring confirms a child’s healthy growth and development, and identifies variations from typical growth due to poor nutrition, recent or chronic illness or other health problems. Currently, there is significant attention on children’s growth due to the rising incidence of childhood obesity.

In 2007, the World Health Organization released new international growth charts depicting the optimal growth of children from birth to age five years and charts for monitoring the growth of older children and adolescents.

In 1985, the Ministry of Health of Kenya established pilot growth monitoring/growth promotion (GMP) centers in 9 districts. The program was conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of GMP in identifying children at risk and in making them accessible to early intervention. This paper presents findings of an evaluation of all 4 health facilities in the Vihiga division of Kakamega.

300 households were examined through in-depth random cluster sampling in the target group of almost 36,700 preschoolers. Sampled households were chosen on condition that they had at least 1 child below the age of 36 months. Review found the program deficient in almost all essential system elements as a result of poor planning, training, management, and organization. International organizations also contributed to overall program deficiencies. Nonetheless, more than 60% of mothers expressed satisfaction with the program.

The failures of this program should reinforce the need to determine during the planning phase whether routine existing services can accommodate the integration of GMP. A growth monitoring schedule should then be developed to which the majority of mothers are able to adhere, yet is able to detect growth faltering early enough to permit intervention in the majority of children at risk; in-service training and supervision provided to monitor quality control; and provisions made to treat children at risk.

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