Thursday 21 June 2018
Save the Children South Africa’s (SCSA) role in the fight against malnutrition has been praised by government and community members in Limpopo. The organisation, in partnership with the provincial government, held a Child Health Awareness Day in Mashashane Village on 14 June 2018. This was part of SCSA’s health and nutrition project called Sireletsa Bana.
The GlaxoSmithKline-funded project aims to contribute towards universal health coverage for children under the age of five in Limpopo and Free State. This will be achieved by directly building the capacity of 600 frontline healthcare workers and 900 early childhood development practitioners.
According to the District Health Barometer 2016/17, severe acute malnutrition case fatality rate in Limpopo stands at 8%, this is a decrease from previous years. However more work still needs to be done as no child should die from malnutrition. Immunisation coverage is at 65%, which is significantly lower than the national target of 92%.
Community member Mathapelo Mphahlele, who participated in the event, said she was “glad that events like this are held here in rural areas, as there’s limited information relating to children’s health. I am also glad that there are mobile clinics, children are getting their immunisation.”
Government said the project is helping to strengthening its efforts on the ground, by helping reach a large number of community members.
“They are supporting us in a very strong way, because the picture is still bad as we still have severe malnutrition, even though we are trying to empower people through education, even though we work hand in hand with specialists. That probably is also caused by poverty and unemployment,” said Thandiwe Dlamini, the Director for Health Care Support Services in Capricorn District.
Community members were encouraged to prioritise breastfeeding and to donate breast milk at the Mankweng Hospital, the only facility in the province with a breast milk bank. A breast milk bank for Sekhukhune is also in the pipeline.
During the event community members, government and NGO’s also signed a pledge to protect children against violence and diseases.