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Picture: 123RF/TKATSAI
Picture: 123RF/TKATSAI

Recent reports by Statistics South Africa show an urgent need to invest in early childhood development. In the first 1,000 days of a child’s life – from conception until two years of age – the developing brain can form 1,000 neural connections every second. To ensure each child has the opportunity to reach their full potential, both mother and child needs to have access to adequate nutrition, a safe environment and comprehensive health care. Missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has an effect on SA’s health and economic status.

The Mother and Child Academic Hospital (Macah) Foundation was founded by Prof Gert van Zyl, Prof Andre Venter and Dr Riana van Zyl to provide excellent healthcare to vulnerable citizens and to build a specialised mother-and-child academic healthcare facility with state-of-the-art antenatal care in the Free State.

On this topic, you can this month attend a free Financial Mail Private Lounge panel discussion about the future of health within the South African context, taking place at The Empire Conference and Events venue in Johannesburg on April 18 2018.

The discussion, led by seasoned journalist and 702 host Joanne Josephs, will focus on maternal health challenges, antenatal and childhood health, and how South Africans can contribute to the development of this area within the country’s health sector.

Says Prof Venter, who also heads up the department of paediatrics and child health at the University of the Free State: “This is a great opportunity to change the status quo of medical and healthcare services for mothers, infants and children. We can all contribute to changing the health narrative of South African mothers and children by providing the best care possible. A brighter future starts in the womb and continues through early development.”

The Macah Foundation is collaborating with a number of associations, corporates, government departments and the University of the Free State in an effort to make this project a success. One of these projects is the “Make the First 1,000 Days Count” initiative, worth R20-million, which is still in its initial stages. The founders are calling on companies and individuals to support the Macah Foundation and its projects through their influence, loyalty and financial means.

How to attend the FM Private Lounge

The Financial Mail has partnered with the Macah Foundation to host this panel discussion.

Panel members include Prof André Venter, head of the department of paediatrics and child health at the University of the Free State; Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, head of the Centre for Clinical Excellence at Discovery; Prof Francis Petersen, rector & vice-chancellor at the University of the Free State; and Dr Rolene Strauss, Macah patron, Miss South Africa 2014 and Miss World 2014. 

Date: Wednesday April 18 2018
Time: 7.30am–10.30am
Venue: The Empire Conference and Events Venue, 16 Empire Road, Parktown, Johannesburg
RSVP: Email Tanja du Plessis on duplessisT@tisoblackstar.co.za by 5pm on Thursday April 12

Attendance is free with limited seats available.

This article was paid for by the Macah Foundation.