19 June 2019

South Africa: Please Address the Issue of Stunted Children in Your SONA Speech, Mr President

opinion

Stunting, a completely preventable condition that results from prolonged under-nutrition in pregnancy and the early years of a child's life, impairs cognitive development and results in gross wastage of precious human capital.

In his second State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined some key priorities. They included broadening access to inclusive growth and job creation, improving the education system, developing skills for the future, as well as enhancing the state's capacity to address the needs of South Africans, especially the poor.

This was only a short while ago, but the president has made progress on some of his promises. In April 2019, Ramaphosa appointed a commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), a commission he will personally chair, deputised by 4IR expert, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala. This is encouraging and will hopefully set South Africa on the path towards becoming a country with a firm grasp of the future.

However, a major obstacle to achieving the president's dream to future-proof South Africa is that it is a stunted country.

Stunting, a completely preventable condition that results from prolonged under-nutrition in pregnancy and the early years of a child's life, impairs cognitive development and results in gross wastage of...

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