One in three people in South Africa don’t always have enough to eat. And one in five children doesn’t go to school. The country also has the largest HIV-positive population in the world. There are 2.5 million orphans. Half of these children lost their parents to AIDS.
The ‘No Hunger Games’ held a few days ago in Johannesburg drew attention to the fact that too many South African children are going hungry. It encompassed a series of events – a ‘Race Against Hunger’, a javelin event dubbed ‘Hitting the Target to End Malnutrition’ and a discus ‘Turnaround to Stop Children Dying.’ Ingenious names, and great fun!
Lindo was born HIV positive and is showing the side effects of her antiretroviral therapy (ART).Her mother abandoned her when she was just three months old but took her birth certificate – probably in order to claim the state child support grant. Without this vital document, her paternal grandparents have not been able to receive the state support they are entitled to help provide the basics.
Her father wasn’t registered on her birth certificate, it’s as if he doesn’t exist, so getting replacement documents is taking a long time. As her grandmother is handicapped after a stroke, they all survive off her tiny disability allowance grant, but it’s not nearly enough.
Something pretty historic happened in South Africa recently. Midwives from all over the world, who had came together as a professional body to consult the experts, and each other, on the latest in midwifery. Nothing particularly historic about that – they do it every year, apparently. Except this time, they were marching for the rights of mothers and babies.
This week, both Indian and South African governments have announced proposed reforms to their health financing policies that would mark significant progress towards their citizens gaining access to free essential health care.
With every home-based carer I met I was struck by their dedication and devotion to the work they do. This is even more amazing when you consider that many of them aren’t paid. They really are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Since the visit I have been struggling to write a blog that adequately summarises the impression they made…
It’s the World Cup Final on Sunday, but I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about the vast, pitiless void that’s waiting immediately after the final whistle.
I can’t believe it’s almost over. Never mind goal-line technology, top of Sepp Blatter’s priority list should be extending the World Cup by at least a fortnight, especially given how much effort I put into watching the thing.
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