This year, Mandela Day saw the Flow Cape Town team playing its part to honour Madiba’s legacy by assembling sanitary packs for mothers with critically ill newborn babies.
The team helped to collect necessities such as maternity pads, towels, soap, toothpaste, underwear and more for underprivileged women whose babies are in the neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) at Somerset Hospital in Green Point.
The idea to donate to the Somerset Hospital was inspired by medical officer Jenny Hughes, a friend of Flow Cape Town manager Sarah-Jane Viljoen, and Jenny’s colleague, study coordinator Petra de Koker. Both women work on tuberculosis studies involving children and pregnant women in Cape Town.
After visiting the hospital for research purposes, Jenny and Petra were shocked by the dire circumstances and vulnerability of the mothers whose newborn babies were in the neonatal ICU.
They decided to call on friends and colleagues to help these women by providing them with desperately needed basic essentials, explaining that “while the babies receive all the excellent care and attention they need, the mothers are often left in dire need … Often, the babies are transferred to the ICU in an emergency straight after birth, and the women are discharged from hospital care but get to stay in the ward with their babies as lodgers”.
Heeding the call from her friend, Sarah-Jane – mother of two young children herself – rallied the rest of the Cape Town team to put together packs for the mothers.
The drop-off at the hospital on 18 July 2018 was a great success and two wards were covered – the neonatal unit, as well as the kangaroo mother care (KMC) unit. The mothers of the babies and hospital staff were delighted with the donations.
“The nurses were running around taking pictures and thanking us profusely, and the women were very happy and grateful – especially the ones whose babies were no longer in incubators and who now had some time to think about their own needs,” says Jenny.
She says that the compassionate nurses at Somerset Hospital often help the mothers of the newborn babies in ICU by paying for food, toiletries and other necessities out of their own pockets.
The day was a huge success and the Cape Town team is grateful to Jenny, Petra and their extended network who rallied behind this wonderful initiative. It brought much-needed relief to the women and made for a very happy Mandela Day!
Flow Communications has worked with the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the past several years on work that continues to shine the spotlight on Madiba’s legacy. Flow Cape Town was happy to do its part to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s legacy.