Twenty three year old Nikiara is at Bikenibeu East West Ward Clinic in Tarawa, Kiribati, for her six week old baby Marta’s first clinic visit.
As part of a routine child health clinic, baby Marta will be weighed, have her height measured, receive rotavirus and OPV drops followed by pneumococcal and pentavalent injections. A long morning for Nikiara and Marta who traveled for 15 minutes by bus to get to the clinic.
Nikiara is aware of the dangers that can happen if baby Martha doesn’t get immunized. She is particularly concerned about diarrhoea and says that “When food is unclean or not good and when a mother gives her baby water that is not boiled to drink, her baby can have diarrhoea.”
A dose of rotavirus will be given to Marta as part of her six week schedule to prevent diarrhoea. As Nikiara exclusively breastfeeds Marta, she doesn’t have to worry about giving boiled water to her baby just yet. “I keep myself healthy so the food I give Marta is healthy too,” she says.
When asked what she wants for her baby daughter, she says “I want Marta to do well in life and get an education so she can get a good job.” By ensuring Marta gets the protection she needs from diseases and illnesses through routine clinical visits and immunisation, Nikiara is already on the right track to giving her baby the best start in life. By Donna Hoerder — UNICEF Pacific