Department opens the Seshego Hospital Centre of Mother Child

SESHEGO HOSPITAL: Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has emphasised that government is committed to attend and fix all the bottlenecks hindering the provision of quality health care service to the communities particularly those relating to maternal and children health.

MEC Ramathuba was speaking during the opening of the Maternal and Child Centre of Excellence at Seshego hospital. The newly refurbished Neonatal unit will now accommodate up to 21 beds.

The Maternal and Child Centre of Excellence (Neonatal ward) is where the newly born babies especially those that are born sick for example, birth asphyxia (babies who struggle to breathe after birth), infections and any other disease resulting from the birth are kept for special treatment. Most of these babies are born with less than two kilogram of weight.

The centre also caters for Kangaroo Mother Care, where mothers who just gave birth bond with their babies and also Mother Lodge, wherein mothers whose babies are sick are allocated beds within the centre so that they can see their babies anytime. Unlike in the private sector, this service (Mother Lodge) is free and the department also offer catering to all the mothers.

According to Ramathuba the opening of the centre represent an honest indication of the commitment that the department has made especially when it comes to caring of both the mothers and babies during the most critical time of their lives.

"We are here to actualise the commitment we made during our department's Budget vote. We said on that occasion that time for concepts and slogans is over, our hands are on deck and the department of Health will be a centre of excellence," said MEC Ramathuba.

In 2017, the department made a thorough assessment of gaps in terms of infrastructure, staffing and equipment particularly in regional hospital. Through this assessment, a conclusion was made that in order for regional hospitals to function optimally and effectively, there is a need to improve quality of care at the lower level of care including district hospital. "We need to applaud Seshego hospital as it is the first hospital to be ready in carrying out this concept," she said.

A situational analysis for 2015/2016 financial year data revealed that there were 120 593 babies born alive in Limpopo facilities. Of this number about 85% are expected to be well and would room in with their mothers, and the other 15% of neonates (about 20 000 a year) are either sick or small and premature and require care in a Neonatal Unit/nursery.

MEC reiterated that in order for the department to adequately care for the new-borns and improve the survival rates, each hospital requires a fully functional neonatal unit which has High care, Standard care and Kangaroo Mother Care beds, equipment and competent staffing.

"This is what we expect with Seshego hospital as we launch the neonatal unit and remain hopeful that this initiative will reduce neonatal mortality to the expected targets as indicated in the Sustainable Development Goals," MEC Ramathuba added.

A representative from the local Traditional Leadership, (Moletji Traditional Council) Mr Matuma Moloto also welcomed the initiative. "We fully support this initiative by the department because we know it will bring better services to the people especially our pregnant women whom we always call them Batho Ba Moshate." Moloto said.