HEALTH REVOLUTION
FOR THE CHILDREN OF MASAKHANE

Worldwide, 7 million children under the age of 5 years die annually, as a result of preventable diseases. In South Africa, this fate awaits 80,000 children every year. Most of them could be saved by conveying basic knowledge to the people about the most common and important diseases, as well as information about nutrition and health prevention. The Grootbos Foundation and i-MED vision support the people of southern Africa's townships, through access to medical education and advice.
To do so, i-MED vision has developed a new and unique concept of education and advice, which improves basic medical knowledge in the population and facilitates access to health care. Our vision is to create a scalable and replicable model, that could potentially be applied to all townships of southern Africa. To begin with, a pilot project is planned for Masakhane, a township close to Cape Town. It aims to achieve sustainable improvements for available medical care, pedagogical support and child nutrition.

When parents and educators learn to recognize warning symptoms of severe diseases, or to notice development anomalies, visual- and hearing disorders as well as signs of sexual abuse in their child, they can take action before it is too late. Modern information technology enables us to sustainably convey this knowledge.

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The first seven years of one’s life embody the most important, life defining period of a child’s physical, mental, emotional and social development. By establishing a daycare centre for children and through pedagogical education of teachers, we provide children the support that they so desperately require for their healthy development.

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Malnutrition affects over 50% of the children in Masakhane. Limited availability of nutritional and healthy foods prevents a healthy physical, mental and emotional development of the children. By training the community in the practices of urban gardening, the parents learn to grow vegetables and home remedies and can thereby provide for their families’ wellbeing themselves.


Health-Related Problems

A lack of understanding regarding basic medical connections and mistrust of the current health system leads to the existing offerings from the public health system (vaccinations, medication and necessary examinations) to be made use of too late or not at all. In many cases, the traditional healers - who are crucial attachment figures in the townships - are the only ones consulted. Further, health care in rural areas is insufficient and therefore medical services are not accessible due to the great distances that need to be traveled.

Giving Health

By combining local seminars with an internet-based portal for eduction and advice, i-MED vision gives parents, educators and nurses access to knowledge, which is of vital importance for children's health - anywhere, at any time.

Nurses operating in areas with insufficient access to medical care, can now access i-MED CLINIC, a specially designed telemedicine portal, which makes it possible to send medical findings in form of writing, image and video to specialized doctors. Consequently, specialized doctors can be consulted without traveling the long distances to local clinics.


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Education Deficit

The first seven years of a child’s life are the crucial and formative years. During this period, the foundations are laid for a healthy physical, mental, emotional and social development. In Gansbaai, 4,000 children live in an environment where they seldom encounter experiences that foster their development. They do not have any access to pedagogical offers, which could support early childhood development. Additionally, they often live on the streets without any supervision and are thus exposed to various threats.

Supporting Education

Establishing a daycare centre for children (which would initially accommodate 150 children) enables us to alleviate the suffering of children, who have to live and develop under dramatic social and hygienic circumstances. They will be protected from neglect and violence, while they receive appropriate nutrition, care and upbringing.

Through these offers, we can respond effectively to the threat of physical abuse and simultaneously give the children the chance to enjoy a healthy childhood development.


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Nutrition Deficit

In Masakhane and its surrounding areas there is only limited access to fresh foods. The people have no choice, other than to buy inferior foods like white bread, crisps, meat imitations, etc. from overpriced supermarkets or small corner stores.

The insufficient knowledge of healthy nutrition results in malnutrition with severe consequences such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, growth disorders and susceptibility to infections. Children, who are HIV positive are particularly at risk.

Enabling Healthy Nutrition

Establishing a garden for fresh produce and medicinal plants is part of our holistic solution to improve nourishment and achieve sustainable health care. We aim to:

  • educate the people about healthy diets,
  • prevent chronic illnesses in children and adults,
  • encourage self-responsibility when dealing with nutrition,
  • and increase families’ incomes by enabling them to sell excess produce.

The Masakhane Project

The pilot project is being implemented in the Masakhane township, a two hour drive east of Cape Town. Around 16,000 people live here, of which 8,000 are children under the age of twelve years.


Outcomes

Health Improvements

  • In Masakhane, 16,000 people will receive improved medical care and support.
  • 4,000 children under the age of twelve will benefit from the paediatric offer of the programme.
  • Parents and educators will have access to medical information including first aid, knowledge about the most important diseases,
  • development
  • anomalies, general health prevention (HIV, TBC), vaccinations, hygiene and nutrition - anywhere and anytime.
  • Nurses in the day clinics can contact specialised doctors 24/7.

Education Improvements

  • 150 children will receive adequate and loving care and support from qualified educators.
  • The professional early support has a positive impact on the children’s development opportunities.
  • Children growing up in fragile social conditions are taken from the streets into safety.

Nutrition Improvements

  • The vegetable and medicinal gardens offer training opportunities for unemployed Masakhane residents.
  • Home grown products and the use of home made remedies improve the children’s health and encourage self-responsibility in dealing with nutrition.
  • By selling excess produce like vegetables or medicinal plants, families can increase their income.

A request for your support

We, i-MED vision and the Grootbos Foundation ask for you support to realise our project, which strives to achieve a significant reduction of child mortality as well as a significant improvement of child health through medical education, telemedicine, fostering early childhood development and establishing urban gardening. Our aim is to support the children in the townships of southern Africa on their path to a healthy, self-determined life.