South Africa: Children's Rights to Health - a Tool for Transformation


Today the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town is launching the South African Child Gauge 2019. It focuses on children's rights to health.

On November 30 this year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Today, International Human Rights Day, recalls the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is another opportunity to remind ourselves of children's legal entitlements in order to promote children's optimal health, survival and development.

The right to health is defined broadly in international law: The CRC guarantees children's right to the "highest attainable standard of health", which extends beyond the absence of illness and injury to include a "state of complete physical, emotional and social well-being". And it is this vision of children not only surviving, but thriving and reaching their potential, that should guide our vision for child health in South Africa.


Over the past 10 years, South Africa has made dramatic progress in reducing under-five mortality from a high of 79 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004 to 32 deaths per 1,000 in 2017.

These gains have been driven primarily by the prevention of...

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