This is your last chance to register for Thursday’s free webinar on ways to address the urgent issue of child stunting in South Africa. The FairPlay webinar, moderated by Food for Mzansi, will look at urgent and longer-term interventions to address a health issue that afflicts more than 1.5 million South African children.
Some 27% of South African children under the age of 5 – more than one in four – suffer from stunting, which affects them both physically and mentally for the rest of their lives.
Stunting results from malnutrition in the first five years of a child’s life, and particularly in the first 1000 days.
“South Africa should be ashamed of this horrifically high incidence of stunting,” said Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay movement.
“Stunting is preventable, which means that the country needs a much higher focus on slowing and then ending this scourge. We need to address malnutrition, particularly for children, and the poverty from which it results. And we need to address unemployment, which results in both poverty and malnutrition.”
Baird said that in addition to creating jobs, South Africa needed to prevent job losses. Predatory trade – imports designed to take over local markets – had cost thousands of jobs a spread misery in already impoverished rural areas.
‘Stunting is a silent emergency’
Another webinar panellist will be Dr Kopano Mabaso, executive director of Grow Great, an organisation dedicated to addressing stunting, which it calls South Africa’s “silent emergency”.
She believes that child stunting must be addressed as a threat to South Africa’s human capital. Because it limits the physical and mental growth of millions, it is a threat to our growth as a country.
Dr Marc Wegerif of the department of development studies at the University of Pretoria, will contribute to the discussion on food security and health legislation.
Wegerif says no country with such high levels of malnutrition and child stunting can claim to have food security. South Africa has plenty of food, but when millions cannot access that food, there is no food security.
The webinar is being held on the eve of National Children’s Day, which takes place on Friday, 20 November 2020 to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the international Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Click here to register for the webinar is on Thursday, 19 November at 14:00. Members of the public will be able to pose questions to the panellists. The conversation will be moderated by Food For Mzansi’s editor: audience and engagement, Dawn Noemdoe, and its co-founder, Ivor Price.