Essential Nutrition Actions: improving maternal, newborn, infant and young child health and nutrition
Malnutrition in all its forms is closely linked, either directly or indirectly, to major causes of death and disability worldwide. The causes of malnutrition are directly related to inadequate dietary intake as well as disease, but indirectly to many factors, among others household food security, maternal and child care, health services and the environment. While most nutrition interventions are delivered through the health sector, non-health interventions can also be critical. Actions should target the different causes to reach sustainable change, which requires a multisectoral approach.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 presents new estimates of undernourishment based on a revised and improved methodology. The new estimates show that progress in reducing hunger during the past 20 years has been better than previously believed, and that, given renewed efforts, it may be possible to reach the MDG hunger target at the global level by 2015. However, the number of people suffering from chronic undernourishment is still unacceptably high, and eradication of hunger remains a major global challenge.
Health systems strengthening has become a top priority of many global and national health agendas as a way to improve health outcomes. With the global health context becoming increasingly complex, national health systems are beginning to move away from a focus on disease-specific health responses to comprehensive strengthening of health systems. The global community agrees that without a systems approach, population health outcomes will not further improve and health related development goals such as the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015 will not be met.
Published since 1995, the South African Health Review (SAHR) provides a South African perspective on prevailing local and international public health issues. It has rapidly become a flagship product that is widely read, used and quoted as an authoritative reference work in South Africa and abroad.
Adolescent Mental Health: Mapping actions of nongovernmental organizations and other international development organizations
Adolescents are generally perceived as a healthy age group, and yet 20% of them, in any given year, experience a mental health problem, most commonly depression or anxiety. In many settings, suicide is among the leading causes of death among young people
Mental well-being is fundamental to good quality of life. Happy and confident adolescents are most likely to grow into happy and confident adults, who in turn contribute to the health and well-being of nations (2). Emotional health and well-being among young people have implications for self-esteem, behaviour, attendance at school, educational achievement, social cohesion and future health and life chances
MHealth4CBS IN South Africa: A Review of the Role of Mobile Phone Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation of Community Based Health Services
Against a background of growing access to, and increasing enthusiasm for the use of mobile phone technology in health services (mHealth) in low and middle income countries (LMICs), we reviewed the potential usefulness of mHealth for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the planned integration of community based health services (mHealth4CBS) in South Africa. It forms part of a portfolio of support for the development of M&E systems for community based PHC outreach teams currently being implemented as part of the PHC re-engineering process. The purpose of the investigation was both to shed light on an emerging field and to provide recommendations for policy makers.
Every day, approximately 1000 women die in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related complication.1 Maternal death can occur at any time in pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most dangerous time for both the mother and the baby. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented if access to emergency obstetric care is ensured.
Experience shows us that at least 15 percent of all pregnant women worldwide encounter a life-threatening complication. In a conflict or a crisis, pregnant women are even more vulnerable because health services have collapsed, are inadequate or non-existent. But these women need access to quality emergency obstetric care whether they live in a conflict zone, in a refugee camp or under plastic sheeting after a devastating earthquake.
The use of ‘co-payments’ to deal with possible ‘over-utilisation’ of health care services is a key point of contention in policy debates related to South Africa’s National Health Insurance proposals.
Over-utilisation occurs when health care provision (in instances when it is free at the point of service), leads to inappropriate and excessive utilisation. Co-payments mean users still receive health services that are heavily subsidised (from public funds in the case of the proposed NHI), but have to pay something towards the cost of services – this aims to curb the frivolous use of services and avoid over-utilisation.
The focus of the National Health Insurance Conference, themed “Lessons for South Africa”, was to create a national consultative health forum as a platform for South Africans to engage with local and international experts in the areas of health financing and health systems reforms and how these have been undertaken in other contexts to ensure that universal coverage to quality health services is achieved for the entire national population. The Conference was organised as part of the Department’s strategy to consult as many stakeholders as is possible on the contents of the Green Paper on National Health Insurance (NHI) which was published in Gazette Number 34523 on 12th August 2011 to initiate a process of eliciting comments from the public.