Each year on the 17th November the world comes together to raise awareness about prematurity and to celebrate our little heroes and heroines. One in 10 babies globally, and 1 in 7 babies in South Africa are born premature. Mankweng Tertiary Hospital in Polokwane cares for the tiniest of babies who have entered this world prematurely. Clinical staff in the neonatal unit and maternity unit, allied workers and management of the hospital pulled in unison to host a perfect celebration for our precious delicate little ones. Parents of the preemies (including a granddad) were treated to uplifting music, informative presentations about the common causes of prematurity, preventive measures, the life saving benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and donating breastmilk to the Mankweng Breastmilk Bank, as well as Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), which saves the lives of many preemies. The clinical staff also shared words of encouragement and support with the parents of preemies, who often feel overwhelmed and isolated.
The parents themselves were given an opportunity to share their experiences caring for preemies and to inspire and encourage each other. The day was jovial, with lots of laughs and dancing, with a solidifying effect on the team that is responsible for the care and wellbeing of preemies on a daily basis, namely health care providers, support staff (e.g. cleaners), allied workers, and most importantly the parents who spend a significant proportion of time in the hospital with their little ones.
We salute the Mankweng team for recognising the need to celebrate the day with their special teeny-tiny guests of honour. Halala Mankweng Hospital halala!!!