Make the First 1 000 Days Count
The First Thousand Days of life (from conception to age two) is a critical period during which children’s brains form as many as 1 000 neural connections every second; a pace that will not be repeated in their lifetime. These connections are the building blocks of every child’s future. In conditions of poverty and attendant malnutrition, this foundation is significantly weakened, resulting in irreversible damage to children’s brain development, poor growth and compromised immunity.
The science is clear about what a young brain needs to make these fundamental connections:
- Stimulation and learning from the earliest possible moment.
- Nutrition for the expectant mother and baby.
- Protection from violence and trauma.
- Early diagnoses of chronic, life-threatening illnesses and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Unfortunately, that is a tall order for the majority of South Africa’s children. We need to do everything possible to support overburdened government resources to break the cycle that condemns our youth to a life of poor learning, lower wages, higher unemployment, reliance on public assistance and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
The UFS Faculty of Health Sciences project is based at the Universitas Academic Hospital which caters for mothers and children in central South Africa providing secondary and tertiary care.
The project aims to
- Provide excellent mother, infant and child health care in central South Africa.
- Provide selected equipment, training, support, management and research which will improve care in the first thousand days of a child’s life.
- Deliver a community-based programme for the education of expectant mothers, highlighting the importance of nutrition, stimulation and development of a child.
With this initiative to Make the First 1 000 days Count, the UFS will improve lives in our region, not only in the short term but also ensure long-term benefits to society and our country. Our overall target is twenty million rand, but we would like to raise at least twenty-five thousand rands on our GivenGain online giving site. For more information please contact Tertia de Bruin at firstname.lastname@example.org.