UNICEF South Africa shares insights at TEDxChange event
20 September 2010...It’s not every day that the world’s leading thinkers and doers on development come together - through a digital platform to share their insights on the status of health and development globally. This, however, was the concept behind the most recent TEDxChange event, hosted by TEDxSoweto in Johannesburg, which UNICEF South Africa participated in.
Reflecting on the findings of the South African Child Gauge 2009/2010, UNICEF SA’s Chief of Health and Nutrition, Dr Siobhan Crowley highlighted the progress that South Africa has made – and has failed to make – on six MDGs.
South Africa is one of only a handful of countries where the under-five mortality rate has not improved since 1990 – a surprising fact given that government has invested massive resources into the health sector.
‘Poor diet and unhealthy living conditions increase children’s exposure to illness and injury,’ said Dr Crowley. ‘Poverty is a key driver of child mortality.’
Although South Africa has a high rate of child poverty, this decreased between 2002 and 2008, mostly as a result of the expansion of the Child Support Grant.
Also on a positive note, access to health services is high in South Africa - nine out of 10 births take place in public health facilities, with almost 95% of mothers receiving medical care during delivery.
In her concluding remarks, Dr Crowley stressed the importance of all people uniting for children, adding that the health of South Africa’s children is a collective responsibility.
South African Child Gauge 2009/2010
The South African Child Gauge [external link] provides an annual snap-shot of the status of South Africa’s children. It is published by the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, to track South Africa’s progress towards realising children’s rights. The latest issue focuses on the theme 'Healthy children: From survival to optimal development'.