Local NPC the Mother and Child Academic Hospital (MACAH) Foundation in collaboration with the University of the Free State's (UFS) Department of Paediatrics and Child Health is highlighting the need for supportive programmes for both new parents and their infants via its Make the first 1000 Days Count initiative.
From conception to the age of two, the first 1 000 days of a baby’s life are of critical importance as they represent the springboard which will determine the projection of a baby’s life.
Dr Lizzy Tabane, new Head of Department for Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences says more needs to be done to educate young South Africans about this critical time frame.
"Better knowledge amongst our youth about the first 1 000 days is crucial for them to plan their careers and dream big about their future. This could also have an impact on the quality of life of their children".
According to Prof André Venter, MACAH Founding Director, there is basically pregnancy and two years to "get it right".
"If we don’t get it right, there are dire consequences, especially for your newborn baby".
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A once-in-a-lifetime series of events
Pregnancy adds pressure on the mother and father from a physical, financial, emotional, and psychological perspective due to the changes that unfold in the process.
The first 1000 days of baby’s life is a critical period during which a child’s brain forms as many as 1000 neural connections every second, a once-in-a-lifetime series of events never to be repeated during their lives.
Some expectant mothers suffer from depression either during pregnancy or after their baby is born (postpartum depression) and this creates a stressful dynamic.
Providing baby with the required medical care and monitoring ongoing breastfeeding and nutrition, immunisations and overall optimal care during this period is vital to ensure baby follows a healthy and stable growth process.
Through the Make the first 1000 Days Count initiative, MACAH and UFS is providing free resources to new parents, including information guides on breastfeeding and nutrition during pregnancy.
Find their free resources here:
Ultimately, the NPC hopes to raise enough funds to establish a dedicated Mother and Child Academic Hospital in central South Africa , the first of its kind which will be designed to address the healthcare gap that currently exists in this area of the country.
To learn more about this local NPC visit www.macahfoundation.org.za.
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