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Improving child survival, South Africa

Child mortality in South Africa is unacceptably high, with 62 out of every 1,000 children dying before they reach their fifth birthday. That figure is approximately 5 out of every 1,000 children in the UK.

These deaths are largely a result of HIV/AIDs and preventable and treatable diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, respiratory infections & malnutrition. Limpopo province is one of the most disadvantaged & under-resourced in the country with 81% of children living below the poverty line, the highest rate in South Africa. Children in Limpopo often die at home with little or no contact with the formal health service.
It is estimated that 60% of deaths of children under five can be prevented through the use of community based interventions and health services by locally trained Community Health Workers. Amref Health Africa’s project in Limpopo aims to tackle child mortality, reducing the prevalence of childhood diseases amongst 14,400 children under five in the region.
The Project aims to:
  • Strengthen community awareness, knowledge and skills related to childhood diseases, as well as providing communities with the on-going means to diagnose and treat them.
  • Pilot the community based Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) in 18 health clinics and training community health workers and child care forums in IMCI – a proven successful approach to tackling various childhood illnesses
Key achievements so far:
  • 79 Community health workers have been trained on IMCI with an emphasis on community health
  • Enabled local Community Organisations to provide IMCI training for 450 Community Health Workers
  • Reduced the incidence of diarrhoea from 54 out of every 1,000 children to 38 out of every 1,000 children
  • Reduced the incidence of pneumonia from 59 out of every 1,000 children to 23 out of every 1,000 children