Shaken baby syndrome ‘is child abuse’

(Courtesy image)
Updated 27 June 2016
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Shaken baby syndrome ‘is child abuse’

ABHA: On average, between 200 and 300 cases of violence are recorded annually against infants and children in Saudi Arabia.
This was revealed by Maha Al-Muneef, executive director of the National Family Safety program. According to her, shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is one of the forms of abuses that happens with infants under the age of two when they are held by the arm or under the arm, shaken violently and then thrown on the ground or on a bed.
This results in three possible physical injuries. The first is bleeding in the brain due to moving the head rapidly back and forth which causes the brain to move inside the skull and which may rupture blood vessels that feed the brain. Second, internal bleeding in the eye socket because of the intense movement of shaking the baby’s head back and forth. Third, the presence of fractures in the rib cage due to the way one holds the child under his or her arms.
She pointed out that there are cases of breathing difficulty due to SBS which has not been diagnosed. She stressed that there is not enough information in Saudi society about the seriousness of the matter as a result of intense and violent shaking. She said it is necessary to educate pediatricians about the syndrome and how to diagnose it early in order to protect children from the consequences.
She indicated that the consequences can be disastrous for the child, and can in some cases lead to brain death, vision loss or mental disability.
Al-Muneef mentioned the National Family Safety Program’s role through its “Don’t Shake Me” campaign which was implemented in National Guard hospitals. In this program, social medical teams educate mothers about this syndrome, which in turn every mother conveys to the father and those who take care of the child.
Concerning the causes of violent shaking, Al-Muneef explained that these are related to the child’s continued crying as a result of colic, especially in the first months after birth, or illness and disability that requires extra care from the parents. These reasons should be communicated to parents who may be young, lack experience and be short-tempered.
Other reasons for the occurrence of violence against children may be poverty, unemployment, addiction, society’s weak culture and the lack of enforcement of laws and deterrent punishment against violators.
Although the SBS is child abuse, the syndrome, unfortunately, is not generally accepted or recognized by health professionals or parents.
Al-Muneef emphasized the Ministry of Health’s efforts to present the “Don’t Shake Me” campaign and all its elements in the coming months to all the ministry’s hospitals in order to spread awareness among mothers and families.
She said that similar projects had proved their worth in other countries where the frequency of violence against children had been significantly reduced.
These programs are usually presented in hospitals to explain the preventive methods of violent head injuries, and teach the mother how to deal with crying babies.
Al-Muneef added that the campaign is presented by the National Family Safety Program as a proposal to raise awareness among mothers of the importance of fighting SBS in a competition conducted by the King Khalid Foundation. The program won the best proposal and work plan for a national development project and was financially supported by the King Khalid Foundation in September 2011.
Through the awareness lectures, more than 6,000 mothers have been educated about SBS during this campaign.


Two Holy Mosques program receives international award

The Two Holy Mosques program has received the Sharjah International Cultural Heritage award for its achievements. (SPA)
Updated 29 min 1 sec ago
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Two Holy Mosques program receives international award

  • The state adopted the program presented by the SCTH four years ago
  • King Salman’s initiative to care for cultural heritage is one of the outputs presented by the SCTH

RIYADH: The Two Holy Mosques program to care for the Kingdom’s cultural heritage has received the Sharjah International Cultural Heritage award for its achievements.
It was described as an unprecedented national program sponsoring projects and efforts related to all aspects of national heritage.
King Salman’s initiative to care for cultural heritage is one of the outputs presented by the SCTH, sponsored and financed by the country, and it is being carried out as part of the important initiatives of Saudi Vision 2030 with more than SR5 billion ($1.3 billion) allocated in the current phase. The initiative includes 10 courses, each under implementation consisting of a number of main projects that amount to more than 330 in total.
The state adopted the program presented by the SCTH four years ago and financed within the National Transformation Program with more than SR4 billion ($1 billion).
The program includes the establishment of 18 museums in the Kingdom, 80 heritage sites and opening them to visitors, the restoration of 18 villages and traditional towns to visitors.