Earlier this month the world celebrated breastfeeding week. To improve infant nutrition by 2025, the United Nations set targets to eliminate malnutrition and increase breastfeeding rates to at least 50% – targets that South Africa also subscribes to. In South Africa, however, often mothers are poor, unemployed, and hungry – all factors impacting their ability to breastfeed and, ultimately, the nutrition their babies receive. As Women’s Month draws to a close, Refilwe Mochoari looked at the nuances of this challenge in the Free State, where mothers often face a litany of socio-economic challenges and asks how government can support these mothers better.
When Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu took to the podium in April this year to deliver her budget speech, she said there was an increase in deaths of children under five mostly due to severe acute malnutrition which has increased from 3.1% in the 2020/21 financial year to 9.6% in 2021/22. This meant of all the children admitted to the province’s hospitals for acute malnutrition, 48 died in 2020/21 and 86 in 2021/22. Refilwe Mochoari unpacks the numbers and asked authorities, experts, and community leaders what can be done.
The 2020 edition of the South African Child Gauge released last week once again placed the spotlight on the country’s child hunger and nutrition crisis. Various specifics in the new budget being presented in parliament today will tell us how committed government is in addressing this crisis, writes Kathryn Cleary.
A Lancet article reporting on children’s height and weight changes over the past thirty years makes for grim reading when it comes to South Africa. Two of the country’s top child nutrition experts unpack what this landmark study means and what we can do to improve the situation.
Over 7 million caregivers and 13 million children have been plunged deeper into poverty as payouts of the R500 caregiver grant ended in October. While this top-up was discontinued, the COVID-19 Special Relief of Distress grant which reaches an estimated 6 million people was extended. In the final article of a six-part series on child hunger, Kathryn Cleary speaks to mothers, children and experts about the implications of these decisions about grants.
After not receiving any government food parcels, one Western Cape farming community pulled together to provide their own COVID-19 relief. In the fifth article of a six-part series on child hunger, Kathryn Cleary spoke to a few women from Elsenburg who have distributed their own food parcels and started soup kitchens to feed hungry children and families in their community.
Food is not the only thing needed to end child hunger and malnutrition. Another invisible nutrient is love. In the second of a six-part series focussing on child hunger, Kathryn Cleary speaks to a 19-year-old about his battle against the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty in the Eastern Cape.
The second wave of findings from the National Income Dynamics Study: Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) released today, shows that household hunger has declined by about a quarter since the release of the first wave of findings. Although encouraging, there are still severe and unacceptably high levels of childhood hunger and stunting, writes Kathryn Cleary.
During the strictest phases of South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown, the South African Social Security Agency effectively stopped accepting new disability grant applications. Elri Voigt explores what happened and speaks to two applicants on the impact the disruptions have had on their lives.