By Shadi Nyokong
The past four years of implementing the Child Survival Development and Thriving programme (CSDT) has given us evidence that social intervention and adequate responses are also a solution to health challenges and they do play critical role in improving child health outcomes. The excitement in 2020 started with documenting these initiatives to highlight lessons and experiences. This is not only meant to influence practice and policies but most importantly to save lives and ensure access and quality of health care services for pregnant mothers and their bundles of joy, the under 5 year olds.
One interesting initiative is the breastfeeding buddies model in Mpumalanga. A highlight from this model is an increase in more babies being breastfed, with almost 95% of the babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six (6) months. Since the programme started, 706 breast feeding women were reached, with 665 having exclusively breastfed their babies, and only 41 who mixed fed their babies i.e. feeding them both breast milk and formula. From this initiative, a case study on a solution to increase breastfeeding numbers will is being documented.
Two other models that are also being documented is the role of early childhood development (ECD) in child health care, especially stimulation services for children under the age of two. The second intervention is called baby competition in Kayelitsha. The focus is the importance of health education in improving health awareness and compliance to child health care. Both interventions are implemented in Cape Town.
Our understanding of the fact that children matter, also our partnering with local organisations, help us as a Fund to continue to be one of the critical role players in the strengthening of health care systems to better care of our children. This has also given us confidence with digitalising of our monitoring and evaluation framework.
During this period, the good work we are doing, is also challenged by COVID 19. Children and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable. With partners in KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape, our messages are emphasizing key steps that need to be taken to protect beneficiaries and staff from infection by COVID 19. We thank the good men and women from our partner organizations and all health practitioners for their work and commitment.
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