Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 25-09-2019
The African Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health says many South Africans and people on the African continent are not aware that children need nurturing care in order to strive.
Some 250 million children under the age of five or 43% of children in low to middle-income countries are at a higher risk of not achieving their full potential due to extreme poverty and not receiving nurturing care.
According to the South African representative of the African Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Dr. Anusha Lachman, although an increasing number of children in developing countries are surviving beyond birth, they start life at a major disadvantage because of multiple adversities in their early, formative years.
She was addressing delegates from across the continent attending the third African Diaspora Global Mental Health Conference in Cape Town earlier this month.
Lachman says for children to reach their optimum potential, they need nurturing care.
“Nurturing care requires two things. First it requires a mentally well caregiver and it requires opportunities for this child to be exposed to learning opportunities.”
Lachman also says South Africa is lacking policies for mental health.
“Mental illness should be treated the way you treat hypertension, the way you would treat diabetes, the way you would treat cancer. There are well documented, well researched treatment.”
Lachman says the combination of poverty, poor health and nutrition, leading to difficulties in learning and academic performance, not only affects the child’s future earning potential, but also contributes to transferring poverty to the next generation.
Listen to the interview with Dr. Anusha Lachman