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    027019

    World Health Day 1984. Children's health--tomorrow's wealth.

    Mahler H

    Who Chronicle. 1984; 38(3):109-15.

    The theme of the 1984 World Health Day--children's health, tomorrow's wealth--provides an occasion to convey to a worldwide audience the message that children are a priceless resource, and that any nation which neglects them does so at its peril. World Health Day 1984 spotlights the basic truth that the healthy minds and bodies of the world's children must be safeguard, not only as a key factor in attaining health for all by 2000, but also as a major part of each nation's health in the 21st century. An investment in child health is a direct entry point to improved social development, productivity, and quality of life. Care of child health starts before conception, through postponement of the 1st pregnancy until the mother herself has reached full physical maturity, and through spacing of births. It continues from conception on, through suitable care during pregnancy, childbirth, and childhood. In the developing countries the child must be protected by all available means, particularly from the killer diseases. What happens in the immediate family and community around the mother and child, and even far away in the world, can have a direct impact on the health and security of both of them. The mother and child need to be placed in an environment that will ensure their health by protecting the overall setting in which they live. This means providing clean water, disposing of waste, and helping to improve shelter. Nothing can diminish the importance of good food, enough food, and proper nutrition for children and their mothers. Beyond the immediate physical needs are the equally important needs for love and understanding which stimulate the healthy development of the child. The emergence of new health problems of mothers and children in developing and developed countries should be kept in mind. Better health services must be made available to all who need them. The World Health Organization (WHO) provided resource material on World Health Day issues for dissemination throughout the world. Extracts from 4 articles on this year's theme are reproduced. The articles report on the success of the Rural Health Center in Ballabhgarh (India) in reducing maternal and infant mortality, the value of breastfeeding as 1 of the simplest and safest ways of ensuring adequate spacing of births, Tunisia's integration of a program of immunization into the routine activities of the health care system, and the needs of the healthy child.
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