This accredited five-day course provides cutting-edge education in child rights and child law for health and allied professionals – including up-to-date training on consent to medical treatment and the reporting of child abuse and neglect as outlined in the Children’s Act. It examines the relationship between children’s rights and child health, and aims to equip health and allied professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to realise children’s rights in their daily practice.

The child rights curriculum was developed in partnership with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development. The project targets nurses, doctors, social workers and allied professionals in the public healthcare sector at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Course Aims

The aim is to build a network of nurses, doctors and allied professionals interested in promoting children’s rights and sharing best practice. The course will:

• deepen your understanding of child rights and child law in South Africa,

• enable you to apply this understanding in your daily practice; and

• enable you to advocate for children’s health both within and outside the health care system.

Six Modules

1. The relationship between child health and children’s rights.

2. Child rights principles and provisions in international law and the South African Bill of Rights.

3. Laws, policies and programmes that give effect to children’s rights in South Africa.

4. Making children’s rights a reality: in individual practice.

5. Making children’s rights a reality: within the health care system.

6. Making children’s rights a reality: addressing the social determinants of health.


Participants have included health professions educators from universities and other education institutions as well as paediatricians, school doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and clinical social workers who are all working in public sector health facilities.


Doctors and other professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa can earn a total of 30 CPD ethics points. Social workers registered with the South African Council for Social Service professionals can now earn 40 CPD points.

A new, blended version of the course was developed as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in General and Community Paediatrics which was offered by the University of Cape Town for the first time in 2015.

Post-Course Support

Tertiary institutions are encouraged and supported to integrate the materials in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula for health professionals. For this purpose an online learning website has been created where the course materials can be accessed by participating educators to enable the sharing of the materials between training institutions. 

Course Fees

The total course fee is R4,500 per participant which includes the five days of training, course materials and annual access to all course materials and further readings via an online learning website. Nurses qualify for reduced fees of R3,000. Participants from outside of Cape Town will need to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

Next Course

3 - 7 December 2018

To Apply

Contact Zerina Matthews or join the project's mailing list to receive news about future training.

To date, the project was funded by a combination of course fees and funding from the ELMA Foundation, the Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Fund, Atlantic Philanthropies, and the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (in 2010). A grant from the Cape Higher Education Consortium made it possible to adapt the course material for inclusion in the University of Cape Town's new Postgraduate Diploma in Community and General Pediatrics.

Current Project Team

Lori Lake, Lucy Jamieson, Steffi Rohrs and Zerina Matthews.

Other Collaborations

The project also works with the Department of Child and Adolescent Health (SCAH) to strengthen child rights education within undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula at the University. These efforts are complemented by a series of presentations at the SCAH Advocacy Symposium and other relevant fora to contribute to a growing cohort of child health advocates in South Africa.

Further reading

Using a child rights approach to strengthen prevention of violence against children
Lake L & Jamieson L (2016). South African Medical Journal, 106(12): 1168-1172. http:// DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i12.12128.

Children’s rights education: An imperative for health professionals

Lake L 2014. Curationis, 37(2): doi: 10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1268.

Know their rights, says Children's Institute
UCT Monday Paper [Online], 28/02/2011

Children's Act guide for health professionals
Jamieson L & Lake L 2013. (Edition 5)

Legal guide to age thresholds for children and young people
Mahery P & Proudlock P 2011
April 2011 (Edition 5)