The South African Child Gauge is a crucial resource utilised by civil society, academic and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who advocate for the rights of South Africa’s children and pursue social justice, University of Cape Town (UCT) Children’s Institute (CI) director Professor Shanaaz Mathews told guests at the Cape Town launch of the 13th edition of the annual review.
South Africa is one of a small number of developing countries that’s formulated a national policy focused on families. A family policy, broadly defined, refers to everything a government does to promote the well-being of families, such as social grants, family services, or social housing. The country’s policy – known as the White Paper on Families – has three priorities. They are promoting healthy family life, strengthening the family and preserving the family.
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.