Our home-based care program has been growing by leaps and bounds working in partnership with Ixopo Department of Healh and other NGO implementing the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) program.

April has been a particularly busy month for our Home-based Care program, with a Community dialogue on Infant Mortality and Breastfeeding, Nutrition Training, and the monthly ARV, TB, Chronic Illnesses clinic. This clinic received a wonderful boost from Checkers, who now regularly provide a nutritious meal for the 150 patients who attend.

Also this month Ixopo Department of Health (DoH) ran a children's mobile clinic at Woza Moya. 78 children under the age of 5 were weighed and their Road to Health Cards checked. Two children were found to be severely malnourished and referred to the hospital. Vitamin A and deworming was done. Care-givers were counselled and referred when the RtHCs indicated gaps in immunizations and other areas of concern.

Despite South Africa being committed to reducing the deaths of children under the age of 5 years, we are still very far from our target. Almost 6% of all children die before their 5th birthday, many within their first week of life, mainly from AIDS related illnesses, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and malnutrition.

Woza Moya works closely in partnership with Ixopo DoH and other NGOs, like World Vision, implementing the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) program, to address Maternal Child Health in Ofafa. The IMCI is an approach developed by WHO and UNICEF consisting of three components, including:

1. Facility based component:
This aims to improve the management of child health at Primary Health Care (PHC) level.

2. Health Systems:
In order to support the health care workers at facility leve,l health systems need to be strengthened to ensure a reliable supply of drugs, vaccines etc.

3. Community IMCI:
A multisectoral approach enabling NGOs and governments to work together with households and communities to develop a coordinated strategy to improve child health.

This involves the promotion of the 16 Key Family Practices grouped into 4 areas:

1. Growth Promotion and Development:
Exclusive Breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding, Micronutrients, Psychological and Physical Development.

2. Disease Prevention:
Sanitation, Malaria, Child Abuse, HIV/AIDS, Immunization.

3. Home Management:
Feeding and Fluids for Sick Children, Home Treatment of Sick Children, Child Injuries and Accidents.

4. Care -Seeking and Compliance with Treatment Advice:
Recognise Danger Signs and Take Child to Health Facility. Follow recommendation of Health Workers, Pregnancy, Participation of Men.

These key family practices have been developed to address the main causes of under 5 children’s deaths:
HIV (46%), pneumonia (6%), diarrhoea (9%) and neonatal deaths (29%). One third of these child deaths are attributable to under-nutrition.