On 17th November 2016 the Limpopo Initiative for Newborn Care (LINC) team joined Siloam Hospital in the Vhembe District of Limpopo, to celebrate their beautifully thriving premature babies. In attendance were nurses and doctors from the maternity and neonatal units, as well as allied staff that are responsible for the development of premature babies.
The event was graced by more than 25 babies, and their parents, who brightened up the room with their colourful outfits and energised the audience with their acrobatic moves during the informative presentations. The golden thread that ran through all the messages of the day was the critical role of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) in the development of the premature baby. Parents were also reminded of the importance of caring for the overall wellbeing of the child. It was encouraging to hear that the allied workers and health professionals work hand in glove in the care of newborns, especially premature babies. The occupational therapist should commended for following up and supporting mothers within the community after discharge from the hospital to ensure the optimal development of the babies.
LINC presented on the challenges of reducing under five mortality as a direct result of prematurity, and shared some of the social causes of prematurity that are preventable through healthy lifestyles. LINC encouraged health professionals to create and maintain a therapeutic environment in the neonatal unit so that all premature babies can survive and thrive during the most critical moments in their precious lives.
The parents also shared their appreciation for the support and excellent care received from the staff after the birth of their premature babies. It was touching to also see one of the products of excellent care and team work between parents, health professionals and allied workers, a 10 year old thriving boy who was born premature.
We salute the staff of Siloam Hospital and the DCST that supports them for their commitment, enthusiasm and leading by example. Halala Siloam and Vhembe DCST halala!!