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Tackling child mortality in the Townships

Getting closer to causes of child mortality.

The Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (Champs) organisation hosted their community engagement session at Emndeni library last Tuesday.

The organisation had been conducting these engagement sessions in different parts of Soweto but this time around they are focusing on Emndeni as it is one of the few locations they haven’t visited.

Functioning to find causes of, and solutions to child mortality before the age of 5 and the causes of stillbirths, they work with clinics and other stakeholders to gather information on the rate of child mortality in different communities.

With the information they get, they conduct Social behavioural Sciences programmes as well as using a technic called Minimally Invasive Tissue Sampling (MITS) where they extract very small parts of tissue from a deceased child to test it and find out possible causes of death.

In these sessions, the organisation aims firstly to acquaint themselves with communities and to find out on the ground the kinds of problems that residents’ face that may contribute towards child mortality.

“Some of the issues in our community and I think one of the leading causes of child mortality is illegal abortions that are so easily available.

“Added to that is the lack of good quality healthcare services because some patients still complain about the lack of privacy and the bad service they get that has been field by all sorts of stigma,” said Ive Shezi, a nurse who was attending the workshop.

“We also need to improve the environment by reducing illegal dumping because test kits that have blood residue are now disposed along with household garbage and at times you would find kids playing in dumps and for all you know they might play with these things and also end up eat rotten things they find in dumps.

“So as much as illegal dumping is caused by the community, it can come back and bite that very same community,” said Pulane Mapena who had also attended the workshop.

“I think we should also increase mobile clinics in our area to be able to cover distance or at least have some sort of transport for sick people because sometimes pregnant mothers cannot go to clinic appointments because they may not have enough money and the clinic could be too far,” said Constance Pompi.

Participants exchanging ideas at Emndeni Library.

Nonhlanhla Ngwenya facilitating the session.

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