Mothers/caregivers are advised to bring their newborn(s) to primary healthcare clinics for regular check-ups. Health care staff will monitor the child's
Developmental screening is done routinely, during clinic visits for immunisation. Screening for developmental disability occurs thrice, when the child is:
- Between zero and six weeks.
- Nine months old.
- 18 months old.
The child is physically examined and observed. The screening test helps to monitor physical and psycho-social development. The tests evaluate whether the child is growing appropriately for their age and checks on developmental milestones, such as sitting, standing, crawling, walking, talking and handling objects. The child's vision and hearing ability is also checked.
If there is a problem, the child is referred to a specialist clinic or a rehabilitation professional, for example, an occupational therapist, where available, depending on the problem and the needs of the child.
The screening test findings are recorded on a clinic card and a growth chart, both of which are kept by the clinic. The child's weight is also recorded on the Road to Health Chart (RTHC), which is given to the mother when her child is born, and it is kept by her. The RTHC card is an ongoing record of the child's progress and mothers must take them to all follow-up visits to the clinic.
Growth Monitoring forms the basis of comprehensive child health care. It includes the regular measurement of weight (and sometimes length) of the child. Weighing starts at birth and continues until the child is five years old. Ideally the child weight must be taken once a month until the age of two years and then thrice a month until the child is five years old. The clinic sister enters the baby's weight on the Road to Health Card. The weight is also checked against the growth chart to see if the weight falls within the acceptable range for the child's age. If the child is underweight, food supplements are available at clinics or the child is referred to secondary or tertiary level hospitals.