Baby indaba gives easy food tips

2016-10-25 06:00
This group of nutritionists who work in the provincial department of health and the City of Cape Town’s health directorate participated at an indaba at the Nelson Mandela Family Centre in Tafelsig on Friday.  |PHOTO: samantha lee

This group of nutritionists who work in the provincial department of health and the City of Cape Town’s health directorate participated at an indaba at the Nelson Mandela Family Centre in Tafelsig on Friday. |PHOTO: samantha lee

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Baby nutrition and toddler development came in focus at an indaba in Tafelsig last week.

Dietitians from the Metro District Health Services of the provincial health department partnered with the department of social development and other stakeholders to host the annual First 1000 Days Early Childhood Development (ECD) Indaba at the Nelson Mandela Family and Youth Centre in Tafelsig last Friday.

This year the focus was on providing information on the importance of healthy nutrition and development of children attending pre-school to ECD centres.

More than 90 delegates attended the indaba from various ECDs, including Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and Delft.

Provincial minister of health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo and Albert Fritz, provincial minister of social development, launched the First 1000 Days campaign in February to raise awareness of the crucial first 1000 days of a child’s life.

“We believe that the healthy early development of a child, and the wellbeing of the mother, are the responsibility of the community. It takes the whole village to raise a healthy child,” says Mbombo in a statement.

Research indicates that both the physical and mental development of infants develops rapidly during the 1000 days period, and the right care and nutrition during this window period helps to develop their brains, fuel their physical growth, build up their strong immune system, improve their school readiness and educational achievement and reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life.

“Through our growing network of over 1700 registered ECD centres, the department 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,” says Fritz in a statement. “These centres are of great benefit to communities, providing a space to share and acquire knowledge that will benefit our children.”

Mbombo adds: “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.”

This is the second time the event was held.

“It’s an annual event and we wanted to showcase some of the services available in the department of health and other NPOs and share it with the ECDs to see what is in the system that they can access,” says Nicolette Henney, assistant director for nutrition.

The department of health, the City of Cape Town, Fire and Rescue Services and other organisations participated in the exhibition.

“[It was a success] even if there were just a few delegates. We have shared the message with someone and we are spreading awareness about what is out there to promote optimal growth and development,” says Henney.

She adds that the 1000-day window is the best time to help a child reach their full potential and after 2-years-old it becomes more difficult to support them. But this does not mean they do not still support the child, says Henney as they still offer services to those who are interested and those who want to access it. The services are available at any of the clinics and facilities through out the city.

Soraya Abbas of the Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum and owner of an educare in Beacon Valley says: “This indaba was useful as it provided more information on childhood development and gave me tips on easy to prepare healthy, nutritional snacks for our pre-school children and how to effectively use the feeding cup system.”

“The information provided at this indaba will definitely be shared at the Forum, especially the information that the department’s dieticians shared on monitoring the clinic cards and checking the stages of each child’s growth development,” she says.

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