health nursing- Principles and practices
Indian traditional child care
practices are beneficial and are adopted from western nursing care system such
as, breast feeding and contact of a mother with the child during the hospitalisation.
However many childcare practices are harmful, such as, late weaning, care based
on superstitions and so on.
Despite the changes in scientific
technology and health care system, there has been little awareness to change
harmful practices. Government policies based on the WHO program, has created
progress in preventive pediatrics to some extent. The national plan is to
achieve the target of health for all and 100% coverage of immunisation, by 2000
This plan has developed entire national
health services to reach to the roots of the community through Maternal and
Child Health Services.
In India, infant mortality rates are
still high compared to developed countries. According to WHO, Japan has the
lowest infant mortality of 4 per 1,000, against India's infant mortality rate
of 77 per 1,000 (WHO, 1995).
India's target is to achieve the
infant mortality rate below 60 per 1,000 by the year 2,000. There is an utmost
need for better child care, especially neonatal and infant care becomes very
important to achieve this target. In India, the mortality rate of under five
children is reported 105 per 1,000. In Japan, it is 6 per 1,000 in 1995 (WHO,
we consider causes of infant mortality, we find poor socioeconomic conditions
and maternal ill health during pregnancy resulting in intrauterine growth
retardation and pre-maturity, bad obstetrical practices, and neonatal
infections such as diarrhoea, bronchopneumonia, and meningitis. Many causes of
infant mortality and morbidity are preventable.
Nurses play the pivotal role in
preventing infections, improving nutritional status, improving intra natal and
immediate postnatal care techniques in the hospital as well as in the
community. This can be done by demonstration, health education, and guidance to
the parents and children for creating awareness and making changes toward
better health care practices.
Health care of children has been markedly changed in
developed countries. There is a change in the view of children from
"miniature adults" to "unique individuals" with special
needs and qualities.
The child health care system should
focus 'to' meet the needs of the children and their families by providing
comprehensive child health care during the illness as well as in health.
The child health care is required
for promotion of health, prevention of diseases, provision of treatment, and
follows up. Preventive measures should be practiced in wards, clinics, centers,
and in the community, to help the people to prevent or solve their health
Every nurse has her responsibility,
in her area of work, in whatever capacity she works in relation to childcare.