Bhubaneswar: With the Covid-19 cases showing no signs of abating, the state government has issued an advisory for safety of children, pregnant women and mothers. The government, in its advisory, said that lactating mothers can continue breastfeeding, with precautions, even if they are found positive for Covid-19.
The Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti department has issued the advisory and directed the district Collectors to ensure strict adherence to it for smooth implementation of various Anganwadi services under ICDS programmes catering to the needs of children, pregnant and lactating women, adolescents in the state.
Department secretary Anu Garg has also reviewed the current Covid situation and measures taken through a virtual meeting with district social welfare officers (DSWOs) and functionaries of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
“Since many children are getting affected by the virus during the second wave, children must always wear masks when they move out of their homes. Parents must ensure that children above two years must always mandatorily wear face masks when they step out of their houses,” the government advisory said.
A majority of children with Covid-19 infection may be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. In case of cold, cough, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of smell/taste, poor feeding in infants, and other medically indicated conditions, children, pregnant & nursing women must go for testing, treatment, isolation, and medical advice.
Children with underlying co-morbid condition may also be managed at home, if they have features of mild disease and there is easy access to health facility in case of any deterioration, it said.
The Collectors were asked for counselling of pregnant and nursing women and children to avail optimal nutrition for improved immunity.
The food ration meant for pregnant women must not be shared by other family members. Pregnant women should consume nutritious food, take adequate rest and follow all Covid protocols.
In case a nursing mother or the child (0-2 years) is found positive, the government has advised to continue the breastfeeding as breast milk strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother. However, appropriate precautions are to be followed during breastfeeding and handling of the child, it said.
Children should be given freshly prepared nutritious complementary food (which are not high in fats, sugar, or salt); which will aid in their growth and development, and improve their immune systems.
To ensure availability of fresh vegetables all the times, the Collectors were further advised to promote establishment of kitchen gardens in households with pregnant & nursing mothers and weak children.
Growth monitoring of children is extremely important during these critical times to address growth faltering early and prevent severe malnutrition. The growth monitoring devices are to be appropriately sanitised after every use.
The government asked the officials to take measures so that no child is left unvaccinated or deprived of services.