The UBS Optimus Foundation is a recognised leader in innovative financing mechanisms for social impact. The Foundation uses results-based funding, partnering with philanthropists who front the money for charitable projects, which are later paid for by governments and end donors based on the outcome achieved. The Foundation takes smart risks on evidence-based, scalable solutions and focuses on health, education and child protection systems as well as tackling environmental degradation and climate change.
Health services in South Africa have come leaps and bounds since 1995, with vital healthcare services becoming available to millions who were previously without access to them. However, in 2018 alone, an estimated 43,000 children under five died in South Africa, and of these, 12,717 were newborns.
Despite the progress South Africa has made over the past three decades, in the OR Tambo District in Eastern Cape, one of the poorest districts in one of the most impoverished provinces in the country, child mortality rates remain stubbornly high.
Today, a third of children born in this region will die within the first month of life and at least another third will die before their first birthday. A significant problem arises from the fact that many government and charitable programmes in this district focus only on one variable – such as nutrition or HIV – and fail to address the multiple interlinking factors that lead to high child mortality in the region.
The Turner Kirk Trust provided £250,000 to UK-based charity One to One Children’s Fund through the UBS Optimus Foundation to build on the charity’s existing ENABLE pilot.
In the pilot, One to One recruited ‘Mentor Mothers’ from local communities and trained and employed them to provide quality home-based care and support for children and their families.
In the expanded project, the charity trained and equipped community health workers (CHWs) already employed by the South African Department of Health to enable them to do their jobs more effectively.
The aim of the project is to harness the creativity and resources of the district’s local communities and ultimately create significant reductions in child mortality rates.
Through this programme, the UBS Optimus Foundation supported One to One Child Fund to expand into new communities, while becoming further entrenched where they already operate.
Over the course of the intuitive, the programme made significant gains in reaching the most vulnerable by appointing 25 new 'Mentor Mothers' within the target catchment area. In addition to that, over the first 18 months, the project supported over 2,400 expecting months through house-to-house health interventions.
Most notably however is the significant gains made through increasing and encouraging new mothers to attend antenatal classes. In total, the programme saw a 61% increase with 67% of pregnant women going on to attend a minimum of four classes over the course of their pregnancy.
The project demonstrated to the Government of South Africa that by equipping and properly training Community Healthcare Workers, they can increase their provisions to their most in-need communities, resulting in a significant reduction in child mortality and an improvement in overall public health.
Supported over 2,400 families
25 'Mentor Mothers' appointed to provide care to pregnant women in the catchment area
67% of pregnant women attended four or more antenatal care appointments – up from 6%
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