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A woman and child stand together wearing masks

Advocating for the Health and Well-Being of Children in South Africa

Thashlin Govender

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the health and livelihoods of communities across South Africa. While the virus affects every family, it is clear that children ⁠— particularly those from lower-income communities ⁠— are experiencing everyday life much different than adults. In times of crisis, children’s needs like healthcare, social and emotional development, quality of life, and child protection are often placed on hold so other services can be prioritized. This is one of the many reasons we are grateful to our partners at the Children’s Hospital Trust and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital ⁠— institutions whose healthcare heroes navigate the world with the needs of children in mind.

Throughout the pandemic, these institutions have been collaborating to treat and emotionally support children while other area hospitals focus on COVID-19 patients. With children making up more than a third of South Africa’s population, advocates like the Children’s Hospital Trust and Children’s Hospital are key to ensuring the individualized needs of children are not only met, but prioritized.

Introducing the Children’s Advocacy Briefs

Furthering their support for children, these partners, together with the Children’s Institute, released a series of research briefs detailing the effects of the pandemic on children’s healthcare, education, early childhood development, nutrition, mental health, and exposure to violence. The briefs are based on data from the Western Cape ⁠— one of the earliest hit provinces in South Africa ⁠— as a use case to highlight opportunities to increase systems and support for children during crises like COVID-19.

The series of eight briefs range from important topics like managing disruption to routine healthcare, addressing nutrition and food security, and encouraging mental health and well-being. We appreciate these dedicated teams who not only support our children when they need it most but use the opportunity to help others learn from these experiences. We remain hopeful that these efforts will not only help the children of South Africa through COVID-19, but also support them in other challenges that come their way.

About the Briefs

The Children's Advocacy Briefs highlight opportunities to strengthen systems and support for children during the COVID-19 pandemic and future crises.

Download the briefs