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CINDI, together with 35 prominent organisations, most of whom work directly in the field of child care and children’s rights, sent an urgent letter to President Cyril Rampahosa, calling for an immediate R500-a-month increase to the child support grant for six months.

The letter states that prior to the lock-down, over 10 million children received nutritious meals through the school nutrition programme and early childhood development programmes. Families are now forced to provide the nutritious meals as schools and development programmes have been closed down due to the lock-down.

Because of food price increases, families are forced to buy less nutritious food due to constrained budgets.

The letter also raises concerns with Sassa’s inability to add new beneficiaries to the social grant programme during lock-down because the required verification and biometric requirements cannot be completed.

The letter  has suggested the following measures as a means to deal with social grant challenges during the lockdowComplementary measures

  • Registration for SROD of vulnerable households not already receiving grants, including unemployed youth and adults in households without social grants, and new mothers with babies who cannot be registered due to all new birth registrations being on hold during the lock-down. Increasing the cash available for existing grant beneficiaries will place less demand on SROD.
  • More cash without addressing congestion at big retailers, in taxis, and social grant payment queues is not effective. The recommendation is for SASSA to restructure its payment system to ensure that grants are transferred into beneficiaries’ accounts in a staggered manner.
  • Subsidizing selected highly nutritious foods.
  • Now that lock-down regulations have been amended to allow informal traders of food to continue to trade, extra cash in the hands of CSG beneficiaries will not only increase the ability of poor households to buy nutritious fresh produce but will also help to reduce the congestion in taxis and at big retailers; and stimulate the local economies of townships and rural areas.

Download Full Letter

 

April 30, 2020

Child protection organisations say poverty and the inability of parents or guardians to feed their children has been a major concern during the lockdown to curb Covid-19. 

Suzanne Clulow, Child Advocacy programme manager for Children In Distress (CINDI), said food security was an overwhelming concern.

She said the organisation had received several queries regarding where people could access assistance.

Clulow said well organised co-ordination of food support to vulnerable families was key, with clearly communicated systems and procedures for service delivery.

“At the moment there is a lack of clarity around this in KZN and NGOs wishing to provide food support have faced challenges with regards to procedures and approval of essential services permits,” Clulow said.

Click here to read the full article. 

 

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus

Kids worry more when they're kept in the dark

News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the playground at school. Many parents are wondering how to bring up the epidemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be.

  • Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information to reassure them.
  • Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
  • Take your cues from your child. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
  • Deal with your own anxiety. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
  • Be reassuring. Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child about how rare the coronavirus actually is (the flu is much more common) and that kids actually seem to be less susceptible to it.
  • Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe and what is in your control. An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. We know that the coronavirus is transmitted mostly by coughing and touching surfaces. WHO recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If kids ask about face masks, explain that the experts at WHO say they aren’t necessary for most people. If kids see people wearing face masks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
  • Stick to routine. This is particularly important if your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during a school break. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
  • Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more.
  • End on a positive point. Once the conversation is over, move on to something that isn't threatening, such as what they had for lunch or something fun they did during the day.

(adapted from https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/)

 

What is COVID-19?

Human Coronaviruses are common throughout the world. There are many different coronaviruses identified in animals but only a small number of these can cause disease in humans.

On 7 January 2020, ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ or COVID-19. The majority of the case-patients initially identified were dealers and vendors at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in China. Since then, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, including South Africa.

Who is most at risk?

Currently, travellers to areas where there is ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 including Mainland China (all provinces), Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran are at greatest risk of infection.

Furthermore, the elderly, individuals with co-morbidities and healthcare workers have been found to be at a higher risk of death.

How is it transmitted?

While the first cases probably involved exposure to an animal source, the virus now seems to be spreading from person-to-person.

The spread of the disease is thought to happen mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Thus far, the majority of cases have occurred in people with close physical contact to cases and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

How is COVID-19 treated?

Treatment is supportive (providing oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or treating a fever, for example). To date, there is no specific antiviral treatment available. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a bacterial secondary infection develops.

How can you prevent infection?

The following can provide protection against infection from Coronaviruses and many other viruses that are more common in South Africa:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick and try and keep a distance from others at home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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