Editorial

Child deaths in South Africa: Lessons from the child death review pilot

Shanaaz Mathews, Lorna J Martin, David Coetzee, Chris Scott, Yasheen Brijmohun

Abstract


South Africa (SA) has not met the child mortality target for the Millennium Development Goals, despite having invested substantially in programmes and policies to achieve these targets. The scale-up of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes reduced HIV transmission from mother to child, but this has not been sustained owing to limitations in community-based child health services. Child mortality has declined, but has now plateaued. Children continue to die from preventable and treatable causes of death. Current data sources are incomplete, and do not provide information on deaths occurring out of health facilities. The child death review (CDR) pilot explores the pattern of child deaths and informs prevention strategies to improve child survival in SA. In this editorial we draw on the conclusions of the CDR pilot, where multiagency teams were established to investigate non-natural and unexpected deaths referred to two mortuary sites in order to strengthen child health and protection response systems and to prevent child deaths.

Authors' affiliations

Shanaaz Mathews, Children’s Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Lorna J Martin, Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

David Coetzee, Health Impact Assessment, Western Cape Department of Health, Cape Town, and School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Chris Scott, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Yasheen Brijmohun, Forensic Pathology Services, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Durban; and Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Child deaths; South Africa; Child death review pilot

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(9):851-852. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i9.11382

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-08-08
Date published: 2016-08-08

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