According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the biggest intervention against pneumonia is good nutrition. Every infant and child has a right to good nutrition as per the Convention of 'Rights of the Child'. Keeping in mind the importance of nutrition, the Health Assembly in May 2010 adopted a resolution on infant and young child nutrition, to expedite the implementation of the global strategy on infant and young child feeding. People with adequate nutrition are more productive and can create opportunities to gradually break the cycles of poverty and hunger. Hence nutrition is indispensable to a healthy life.According to Dr. Y.C. Govil, Professor of Paediatrics in Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, “Good nutrition for children below 5 years of age should be exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months, and then gradual weaning by starting complementary food like cereals, mashed papaya, banana etc. As the child grows, all types of household diets must be added with some butter and ghee also, so that dense calories can be provided."
It is a very popular notion that good nutrition has to be expensive. Dr. Vijaya Mohan (Consultant Pediatrician, Vivekananda Polyclinic and Institute of Medical Sciences) says, "Good nutrition can be derived from common household items like cereals, pulses which are highly rich in protein. The only thing one should know is how to prepare them well i.e. hygienically and more nutritiously.”
One cannot define nutrition in variant degrees-- if it is not good it will certainly be bad. Bad nutrition is such that either it leads the child to become overweight or underweight. Dr Govil says that, "Bad Nutrition is one extreme for affluent families, where kids are fond of junk food, which overfill them with calories; and at the other extreme are families with poor socio-economic status who are forced to dilute milk and other food, which deprives them of the nutrient values."
Hygiene helps nutrition in preventing pneumonia. According to Dr.Jyotsna Mehta (Practicing Gynecologist & Obstetrician-at Sahani and City Hospital)," Simple hygiene practices, like hand washing, in the post delivery period can reduce the risk of infections."
Two key measures recommended by WHO and UNICEF to improve child survival are hand-hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Transmission of community-acquired Acute Respiratory Infections occurs most commonly through inhalation of respiratory droplets produced by talking, coughing, spitting and sneezing. Coughs and sneezes should be covered with a tissue, cloth or mask. Hand-hygiene prevents the spread of common communicable diseases during coughing or sneezing. Proper sanitation, especially in developing countries where houses are overcrowded and not well ventilated, also helps in killing the disease germs. Hence following these simple remedies of hygiene will certainly decrease the risk of childhood pneumonia.
Shikha Srivastava - CNS