Philani Child Health & Nutrition Project
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Underweight in the womb

Philani's data demonstrates that more than half of the malnourished children enrolled on the Outreach Programme were born with a low birth weight, i.e. they are underweight from birth.

HIV in pregnancy

In Philani's target communities the prevalence of HIV-positive pregnant women increased from 9 per cent in 1998 to 24 per cent in 2003 and 30 per cent in 2005, a frightening development. Up to 10 per cent of HIV-positive women infect their children, despite an effective mother-to-child transmission prevention programme in the Western Cape.

Programme history

Recognising these facts led to the implementation of Philani's Mothers-to-Be Programme in 2006, as part of the Philani Outreach activities. Philani’s Mother-to-Be Programme supports mothers during their pregnancies to improve their nutrition status, and thus the birth weight of their babies. This antenatal intervention also aims to preclude, as far as possible, the problem of mother-to-child HIV transmission, through counseling and encouraging women to test for HIV. Since late 2006, Philani has employed a dedicated nursing sister to give mothers-to-be training to Outreach Workers, to enable them to conduct comprehensive house-to-house visits throughout the communities in which they work, identifying and supporting pregnant women. This home-based support to antenatal care offered in government clinics is enormously valued: 95 per cent of women respond positively to Philani's Outreach Workers' contact and care.


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