UCT News [Nov. 20, 2018] -- More than 6 million of the country’s children regularly go hungry, with dire consequences for their capacity to thrive – or even survive – according to the 2018 South African Child Gauge, which urges the government to move swiftly to address the gaps in family services.
These children live below the food poverty line which, in real terms, means their families cannot provide even the minimum amount of nutrition they need.
Very few mothers in South Africa exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of life as recommended by the World Health Organisation – with only 1 in 4 babies exclusively breastfed by the time they are 4 – 5 months old. And these low exclusive breastfeeding rates contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition, diarrhoea, pneumonia and under-five mortality in South Africa.
There are still 12 years to go before the UN sustainable development goals are finalised. For South Africa to meet the targets it must focus on providing evidence-based programmes for the most vulnerable and accelerate access to essential services.
Our overall evaluation is that South Africa has made significant progress with some targets. But it’s still lagging far behind with others.
Many South African children have experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse before they turn 18. While reports of child sexual abuse usually engender moral outrage, physical abuse of children goes largely unnoticed, particularly when such abuse occurs in the home and is seen as ‘discipline’. As we approach this year’s Child Protection Week, it is critical to recognise the mounting social and economic costs of physical abuse of children to the country.