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OUR 40th Anniversary - Healing Kids: The National Project

Phase II Contributing Towards Reducing Infant Mortality

Current statistics indicate that more than 20 000 newborn babies die in this country each year many of them, due to avoidable or preventable causes. Meanwhile, South Africa committed itself during the year 2000 to meeting the United Nations Millennium Goal 4, which is to reduce our neonatal mortality rate (NMR) by two-thirds by the year 2015.

After an intensive screening process, the Foundation selected 12 public hospitals to receive funding as part of Phase II of the Healing Kids project during late 2007. These hospitals each submitted detailed action plans, aimed at reducing their respective neonatal mortality rates to the Foundation. Such plans were based on the Fuchs Neonatal Mortality Reduction Funding Model, involving an integrated low-technology approach to addressing the neonatal mortality causes and those factors associated with mortality avoidance.

The Fuchs Foundation Funding Model

The funding model was constructed with the assistance of paediatric and neonatal experts, including guidance from the Medical Research Council of South Africa and aimed at contributing to a reduction in infant mortality rates around the country. The elements included in the model were divided into three clusters:

Kangeroo Mother Care (KMC)-related facilities and practices
care-giving facilities, infrastructure and equipment, specifically involving ventilation-related capacity
care-giving environment best practice, including staff training.

Related to these issues, the following areas were nominated for funding:

staff training
infrastructure and care-giving facilities
KMC programmes
nutrition facilities, including human milk banks
environmental improvements to enhance infant neurodevelopmental care
management and staff awareness programmes.

Here the beneficiaries, in the various clusters, were:

• Gauteng Province

• Free State & Northern Cape Province

• Western Cape Province

• Eastern Cape Province

• KwaZulu-Natal Province

• Mpumalanga, North-West & Limpopo Provinces