De Doorns malnutrition rates ‘highest in the country’

2013-10-12 15:26

De Doorns in the Western Cape has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country, the social development department has said.

The department held an imbizo, a public participation programme, at the farming community to address various issues.

“This has prompted intervention by the minister, Bathabile Dlamini, who met with the community of De Doorns,” the department said today in a statement.

Other problems highlighted included substance abuse and a prevalence of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Dlamini unveiled plans of services the department would undertake in the community.

“We need to ensure that all children who need early childhood development services, especially [children aged below four years], are given access to it,” Dlamini was quoted as saying.

She also said all children attending the nine schools in the area would be given school uniforms from next year.

“Few families in De Doorns currently can afford school uniform because of the poverty that prevails in the community.”

The department would send six more social workers to the area on a temporary basis, until a longer term solution was found.

De Doorns is a farming area with seasonal employment. Farmers in the area employ about 30 000 people on a permanent basis and about 40 000 more people during its high season, between September and April.

“It is also during the low season that other social challenges, such as malnutrition and alcohol and substance abuse, emerge.”

The department would conduct regular surveys in the area to determine the number of children needing early childhood development services, so that their needs could be met.

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