In many provinces throughout South Africa – both urban and rural – malnutrition remains a persistent problem. The numbers begin to paint a picture - 25% of all children under five in South Africa are physically stunted; but it is the human stories that make the reason for this persistence a reality.
Take Linah, a 32-year-old mother of four living in Soweto, a township of Johannesburg. “Nutritious foods like vegetables and meat make [my children] strong, but I simply cannot afford them on a regular basis.”
As thick fumes of paraffin permeate her kitchen, Linah cooks ‘pap’, a dish made from boiling maize meal in water and stirring it until it becomes thick. Pap is consumed widely in South Africa and even fortified brands exist. But even pap fortified with iron does not have the essential vitamins and minerals needed for Linah’s children, especially her infant, Bokang.
At just seven months old, Bokang requires a high density of many nutrients – like Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc. These vitamins and minerals can be found in many food, but while Linah sees the fresh fruits and vegetables each and every day at her job packing food shelves at Woolworths, a large supermarket chain, they remain out of reach, too expensive for her to afford. Already Linah is spending about half of her monthly pay check on food, doing what she can to feed her four children.
Making Good Nutrition Simple and Affordable
New innovations in South Africa are making nutrition more accessible and affordable for mothers like Linah. Last fall a South African pharmaceutical company – Nycomed – launched a home nutrition packet with support from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). This product – called Emvit – is made especially for infants from 6 to 24 months of age and can be sprinkled onto foods prepared at home, like pap.
This new innovation aims to help South African families fill the nutrient gap in their children’s diets affordably, simply and safely. At this stage of the program, efforts are targeted in two provinces with the highest levels of malnutrition – KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
But there is immense opportunity to reach mothers across the country. Working closely with Nycomed and the Government of South Africa, Future Fortified will be supporting in-country efforts to increase access to home nutrition packets in South Africa beginning in 2013.
*Interview with Linah by Karie Atkinson, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
Every action you take is important to us and adds up to create change, whether it is sharing a link on Facebook or making a donation. It all matters.
With the "Engage & Earn" Program, we can help you see how your actions add up, as well as those of the broader community of supporters. Whether you share, recruit or donate, your actions make an impact. Now they earn you points!
Your points enter you in a contest to win special thank you gifts. Over time, we hope to add lots of opportunities, including trips, discounts, merchandise and other unique opportunities. Learn More>