Cape Town – The Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust has appealed to the public to urgently support mothers in the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) programme with toiletries.
Trust chief executive Jason Falken said the Neonatal Unit at Tygerberg Hospital admits about 3000 babies per year, mostly underweight, weighing less than 2500g at birth, thus needing mothers to practise kangaroo care.
“The aim of KMC is to help the mother and baby bond, improve the baby’s body temperature, breathing and heart rate as well as improve breastfeeding. KMC also shortens the duration of the baby’s hospitalisation,” Falken said.
There are about 100 mother and baby pairs in part-time or full-time KMC at the hospital.
“Many mothers are from rural areas. Some mothers were transferred in an emergency situation to Tygerberg to have their baby delivered, while others have been in hospital since lockdown started, without being able to go home and get clothes and toiletries.”
He said all mothers are facing similar problems – they do not have sufficient clothes and toiletries with them, and sometimes none at all.
“Many mothers feel ashamed of their appearance as they do not have clean clothes and toiletries to properly care for themselves. This affects their emotional well-being.
“Their families are unable to assist in bringing clothes and toiletries.”
An appeal to donate the following self-care items has been made: toothpaste; ladies’ roll-on deodorant; maternity sanitary pads; shampoo and conditioner; body moisturiser; face cloth; soap; washing powder (for machine wash); clothing for mothers as well as maternity wear; and snack packs.
“Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions and restricted hospital visiting policies, to curb the spread of Covid-19 many fathers and grandparents have not been able to see their babies.
“This has also limited the social support usually provided by partners and parents, further affecting the mothers’ emotional state.”
* More information at: www.tygerbergchildren.org.za; Facebook:@THCTRUST; and Twitter: @HospitalTrust.
By Shakirah Thebus