South Africa: Little Progress in SA Early Childhood Development Services

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Most children in South Africa may have survived largely as a result of maternal and child health interventions. But they are certainly not thriving, a child health conference in Potchefstroom has heard.

Factors affecting early childhood development are well known in the health sector. They cannot easily be exaggerated or discounted. Health practitioners, caregivers and academics got this key point in early on the first day of the 10th Child Health Priorities Conference held at the University of North West (NWU) in Potchefstroom from November 28-30.

Of the five essential early childhood development (ECD) services - primary level maternal and child health, social services and income support, nutrition support, support for primary caregivers and stimulation for early learning - South Africa is doing relatively well with only one: primary level maternal and child health (the healthcare component).

According to the South African Early Childhood Review (SAECR) 2019, healthcare as a component of the five essential ECD services, is the only component delivering a decent level of service. "As a result, children are surviving but not thriving."

"While South Africa has made good progress from a policy perspective, many of the services defined in the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy...

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