Dr Elmarie Malek is one of just a few experts in the Western Cape who were invited to give input on the development of a policy guideline to inform the mandate of the Children’s Commissioner in the Western Cape Department of Health. This is a new position and the task team will provide input on recommendations concerning the role and function of the Children’s Commissioner.
Malek’s academic fields of interests make her an ideal candidate to inform and advise the task team on matters related to children’s health. These include community child health, clinical governance and the strengthening of health systems. She is the head of general paediatrics in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Stellenbosch University.
According to Malek, the First 1 000 Days Campaign represents a critical time in the life of any child, and it is an important issue that the various stakeholders will have to integrate into the mandate. “Infants cannot speak for themselves,” Malek said. “Given my knowledge in this domain as a health practitioner who understands the neuro science, I want to ensure that the science of the First 1000 Days and its implications for services are included in the Commissioner’s mandate.”
Malek will also perform an advisory and consultative role to inform the task team on health and social matters. These will include the interests of children regarding access to and the availability of healthcare services; factors that determine the health and wellbeing of children; and the collaboration between various social service providers, early childhood development services and the educational sector.