Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust
The Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust has been addressing maternal, child health and nutrition problems as well as providing preschool education in the informal settlements outside Cape Town since 1979, expanding its operation to the Eastern Cape in 2010, Swaziland and Ethiopia in 2012, and Egypt in 2018. Philani has a “best practise” programme that has been demonstrated through rigorous research, to achieve the outcomes of good child health, growth, learning and development.
The enrolment of community health workers – who in Philani are called mentor mothers – has been highlighted as an important strategy to reduce maternal, neonatal and child deaths by helping to bridge the gap between the facility and home during vulnerable times in a mother and child’s life. It is also an important strategy to limit the damage of malnutrition and ill health on the development potential of a child and that child’s ability to learn.
Philani’s vision is a South Africa where pregnancy is safe and where every child can grow up healthy and well-nourished, able to learn and fulfil his or her physical and mental potential.
The organisation’s many programmes have been developed to fulfil this vision in recognition of the multiple factors contributing to maternal morbidity and mortality, child malnutrition, ill health, lack of learning and impaired development. We are grateful to have been able to sustain and expand our commitment to South Africa’s women and children over the past 40 years in a society with increasing inequalities and relentless poverty.