The provincial government’s First 1000 Days project was launched today by Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Adv. Albert Fritz, and Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo. The project forms part of the province’s campaign to raise awareness of the crucial first 1000 days of a child’s life.
The Ministers conducted a walkabout at the City of Cape Town’s Station Deck Taxi rank early this morning whilst showcasing the campaign’s branded taxi’s – which are already in operation.
The initiative is a holistic programme promoting the well-being of mothers and their babies, as well as the healthy development of infants in communities across the province.
This programme is key to the government’s vision for health in the province which seeks to ensure healthy children, within healthy families and healthy communities.
As the Western Cape government, we believe that the First 1000 Days of a child’s development, starting from conception, moving through pregnancy, birth, and the first two years of life, are crucial for securing a child’s bright future.
Research indicates that both the physical, emotional and mental development of infants develop rapidly during the first 1000 days period, during which the brain grows up to 80% of its size during this time.
Government recognises that health and wellness requires a wider response than any one department can deliver. That is why the Departments of Social Development and Health have joined together on the First 1000 Days initiative.
It’s not only about delivering services but also about ensuring a positive environment in the community.
“Our campaign logo reads ’Right Start Bright Future’. We want a bright future for every child in the Western Cape so that we can build healthy communities.
“We believe that the healthy early development of a child, and the well-being of the mother, is the responsibility of the community. It takes the whole village to raise a healthy child,” said Minister Mbombo.
Three “pillars” are important in ensuring the healthy development of children in the First 1000 Days:
- Ensuring the health and nutrition of both mother and baby;
- providing mothers and babies with support from fathers, families and the whole community; and
- providing the right stimulation for the baby’s learning needs and giving them a safe substance abuse free environment which promotes well-being.
“Through our growing network of over 1700 registered Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres, the Department of Social Development (DSD) provides advice and support to countless parents of young children on matters ranging from nutrition to assistance with access to safe and creative spaces for children to play, grow and develop,” said Minister Fritz.
DSD has greatly refined the process of ensuring ECD centres are registered through prescribed norms and standards set by the Children’s Act of 2005.
“These centres are of great benefit to communities; providing a space to share and acquire knowledge that will benefit our children,” added the Minister.
DSD also partners with the Department of Education to ensure that ECD practitioners at these registered centres receive proper training. Training is provided through accredited TVET colleges, which offer specialist skills staggered over 7 levels of training, that aspiring owners and employees of ECD centres can undergo.
DSD will continue to play its critical role of not only registering new ECD facilities, but also monitoring and evaluating the quality of existing services, in order to preserve the best interests of our children.
“Every parent wants to see their child succeed in school and unlock opportunities for their future. Investing in their healthy development within the First 1000 days is crucial to achieving this” said Minister Mbombo.