Know their rights, says Children's Institute

28 February 2011

Teamwork: The Children's Institute team are (from left) Lori Lake, Tendai Nhenga-Chakarisa, Paula Proudlock, Prinslean Mahery and Lucy Jamieson.

As part of an international initiative, UCT's Children's Institute has set its sights on educating healthcare educators on child rights and child law through a new five-day short course, presented for the first time from 24 to 28 January.

Aimed at deepening the understanding of children's rights - both national and international - and enabling professionals to apply this knowledge in their daily work, the course includes up-to-date training on the new Children's Act in particular, the issue of consent to medical treatment, and the reporting of child abuse.

The course was developed by the Children's Institute, in collaboration with the Child Rights Education for Health Professionals (CRED-PRO) initiative, which is linked to the University of Victoria in Canada.

The course brought together 25 nurses and doctors from health faculties across the country (including UCT and the Universities of Stellenbosch, Witwatersrand and Fort Hare), as well as representatives from the Department of Health and CRED-PRO.

"The course speaks clearly to the university's socially responsive research and teaching agenda," says Lori Lake of the Children's Institute. "Health professionals are encouraged to consider how a child-rights approach can be used to transform health care services. The course also introduces the institute's research, so that they can make decisions and conduct advocacy from a strong evidence base."

"This is an excellent course and is relevant to a broad range of health professionals working in the field of paediatrics and child health, including nurse practitioners, paediatricians and health managers," says Professor Michael Hendricks of UCT's Child Health Unit. "As a clinician, one comes to see the application of children's rights as a vital part of clinical practice. I would recommend this course to all those working in the area of child health."

The Children's Institute is also establishing an online network of health educators who are focused on child rights, education and child law. This will be a resource for sharing teaching materials and experiences in integrating child rights and child law into curricula. To join the network, email Denise Brown. For more information on course materials, contact Lori Lake or call 021 689 5404.

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