South Africa Country Program

Window of Opportunity Project

WinOp logo

The Window of Opportunity (WinOp) project is a five-year project, supported by BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, that recognizes that pregnancy and early childhood represent a critical window of opportunity to improve health outcomes and shape children’s long-term physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

The project aims to improve the health and development of pregnant women and children up to the age of two by integrating maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN) programs with early childhood development (ECD) interventions.

(Photo: BHP Billiton)

(Photo: BHP Billiton)

Reaching almost five million beneficiaries, the project is implemented across four districts in South Africa – Sedibeng, Gauteng Province; uThungulu, KwaZulu-Natal Province; Nkangala, Mpumalanga Province and John Taolo Gaetsewe, Northern Cape Province in South Africa, and Boane District in Mozambique.

Strengthening local health and development systems and community structures to provide intersectoral services responsive to the actual needs of communities.

 intersectoral forumsWinOp works with key stakeholders across health, education, and social welfare to establish and strengthen intersectoral collaboration forums in all districts and build the capacity of these forums in integrated MCHN and ECD services. The project also provides MCHN-ECD contributions to national plans and technical strategies.

Improving the quantity and range of clinical and community-based services addressing the health and development needs of children less than two years old.

WinOp Outreach Services, Nkanagala. Photo: PATH

WinOp Outreach Services, Nkanagala. Photo: PATH

WinOp provides direct technical support and mentoring to district health services to strengthen the quality and effectiveness of health facilities. Technical support is focused on providing integrated MCHN and ECD services and strengthening facility-level clinical chart audits and improving data quality.

Increasing behaviors among caregivers that positively affect the health and development of children less than two years old.
People reached with messagesWinOp supports 21 community-based organisations (CBOs) to change behaviors and engage communities to better support mothers and children. CBO capacity building activities include: strengthening financial and organizational systems and performance; building technical capacity in MCHN and ECD; conducting community and facility health education and promotion; and strengthening linkages between CBOs and the health system.

Expanding the knowledge base and fostering the widespread adoption of project lessons.

Select WinOp resources (Photo: PATH)

Select WinOp resources (Photo: PATH)

WinOp conducts operational research on key maternal and child health issues including the integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI), antenatal care (ANC), malnutrition, the use of mobile phones to support data collection on ECD, and the role of traditional birth attendants in the provision of MCHN-ECD services. The project also broadly disseminates lessons learned, good practices, and project tools through district, provincial, national, and international platforms.

Project Impact

In South Africa, all WinOp-supported districts are making significant progress in increasing the proportion of women receiving antenatal care early in their pregnancies.

All WinOp supported districts are making significant progress in increasing the proportion of women receiving antenatal care early in their pregnancies.

Mozambique, with WinOp support, is making significant progress in increasing the proportion of women seeking post-partum care.

Mozambique, with WinOp support, is making significant progress in increasing the proportion of women seeking post-partum care.

“I like to thank path for such support and really I feel like I have learned a lot, I hope to use it back at home, to implement and improve on our gaps.” Participant of PATH WinOp Quality Improvement Strengthening Initiative

Read the Window of Opportunity fact sheet