KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is a deprived province of South Africa, with an especially vulnerable population of children. Child mortality is high, overwhelmingly from preventable diseases, including diarrhoea, pneumonia, septicaemia, tuberculosis, undernutrition, and HIV. In the crucial first 1,000 days of a child’s life, educational provision and healthcare support is often absent.
Starfish Greatheart’s Early Childhood Survival and Development (ECD) programme offers vulnerable children from 0-5 and their carers the best environment for early learning, and incorporates health, nutrition, and cognitive development.
This innovative approach, recognises the lack of suitable facilities in poor rural communities and adopts a model that supports caregivers in their own homes from a central hub. It includes Community Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (C-IMCI) services, nutrition, growth monitoring and ensures all enrolled children and caregivers have access to healthcare and the documents they need to obtain health cards etc.
Working with local community based organisation Woza Moya, the project will support the ECD of 450 children in the Ufafa Valley at homes and at crèches and aims to reduce child mortality rates. It will transform the lives of the children in the following ways:
- Increased HIV prevention and Child Survival: children receiving timely care, nutrition, and treatment.
- Increased educational support: crèches provide ECD services at school and at home.
- Improved Access to services: pregnant women will receive 4 antenatal visits; all children will be immunised; sick children will be referred to local health facilities; all enrolled children will have birth certificates and access to social grants.