1 in 5 SA kids stunted; first lady vows to beat that
ONE in five South African children under 5 suffer from stunting, according to the recent SA Demographic and Health Survey.
It found that stunted children suffer delayed growth and their brains don’t develop as they should.
So the Grow Great Campaign was officially launched this month to fight stunting. This multi-funder drive aims to confront the hidden challenge of chronic under-nutrition and will mobilise the nation to achieve zero-stunting by 2030.
Given her commitment to maternal and child health and her advocacy for early childhood development, the campaign’s First Lady, Dr Tshepo Motsepe, in her keynote address at the recent launch said: “If we are to achieve zero stunting by 2030 we must make better use of our community health care workers. These people are the closest to households; they develop a rapport with and are trusted by the community.”
Motsepe said the intervention of community health workers make a significant impact on childhood nutrition, especially in the first three years.
“Nutrition is one of the most important factors we need to address in the first days of a child’s life. It is extremely critical to their growth.”
Motsepe hoped the Grow Great Campaign would take hold in all parts and in all levels of society.
“This initiative requires the participation of South Africans who live in abundance and those who live in need. This is an initiative that embraces all South Africans – black and white, urban and rural and female and male.”
The campaign needed people to talk about it everywhere – from classrooms and playgrounds to stokvels and taverns.
“We must stunt stunting to ensure that Grow Great (Campaign) will indeed grow great itself and become a social movement that will transform our society,” said Motsepe.
Stunted children on average perform worse at school than their nonstunted counterparts, are more likely to be unemployed as adults, are at higher risk of getting chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension and are vulnerable to being trapped in intergenerational cycles of poverty.
Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso, executive director of the Grow Great Campaign, said stunting levels were extremely high, even higher than in many poorer developing countries.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu, pays a visit to the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) Alexandra Local Office in Johannesburg. Sassa is a national agency of the government created in April 2005 in order to distribute social grants on behalf of the Department of Social Development. The visit is part of Ramaphosa’s efforts to ensure the government delivers services with efficiency and integrity to the people. |