Tech billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates has honoured the efforts of South African Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso to eliminate child stunting by 2030.
In his blog this week, Gates profiled her as part of his 'heroes in the field' series.
"Today, at age 34, Dr Matlwa Mabaso lives in Johannesburg and leads the Grow Great campaign, a sophisticated effort to eliminate child stunting from South Africa over the next decade," he said.FEEL GOOD | SA author Kopano Matlwa's award-winning novel 'Coconut' coming to the big screen
The campaign, launched in 2018, hired her as its founding director.
Stunting is a condition that arises from prolonged under-nutrition and it affects physical and brain development.
"She hired a staff of 20 and developed a strategy that draws on successful campaigns in Brazil, Peru, Chile, and other countries that have dramatically reduced stunting in recent years," said Gates.
"Grow Great is now one year into its implementation. Preliminary data are promising. For example, the data show that moms are recognizing the importance of early stimulation and nurturing care while the baby is in the womb. The data also show that participating in antenatal classes is helping new moms cope with the demands of pregnancy and the prospect of a new baby. In the next few years Grow Great will evaluate the impact of these efforts, assessing whether stunting is actually decreasing and, if so, by how much."
Melinda and I have met many stunted children in our travels. It’s heartbreaking and utterly preventable. Dr. @kopanomabaso is leading an incredible effort to eliminate child stunting from South Africa over the next decade. https://t.co/POaKqkLowv— Bill Gates (@BillGates) February 25, 2020
Matlwa Mabaso thanked Gates on Twitter for shining a spotlight on the campaign.
She is also an author and wrote the award-winning novel, Coconut, which is being turned into a movie.
The novel became a best-seller, and in 2007 it won the European Union Literary Award. In 2010 she was the joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, according to Channel24.
Last year, she made the list of News24's 100 Young Mandelas of the Future.
- Compiled by Jenna Etheridge