Malnutrition is threatening the future of many young children, causing irreversible harm to their physical and intellectual development, the Human Sciences and Research Council has warned in a report.
The report, “Child Health: Improving the quality of care during the first 1 000 days”, includes research and evaluation by specialists in the government and at the council.
According to Lynn Moeng, the Department of Health’s chief director of health promotion and nutrition, evaluations found “there are no clear linkages of nutritional programmes, and no clear referral systems”.
If health workers found a child was underweight, they were not sure where the social systems were that could support the child and did not know where to refer the family for food security.
“In most of the provinces it was found that although… there is a nutrition budget, it is not clear what it is used for.”