Maternity ward at the largest hospital in the World!
These two pictures are of the recovery room, after they deliver their babies!
One of my best friends daughter had a baby this week. She had a darling baby girl which they named Elizabeth Kate--Ellie ! It reminded me of a recent visit we made to the largest hospital in the world right here in South Africa. We are so blessed to live in the United States and have such wonderful hospitals.
On this trip we were taking new born blankets and hats to the new mothers. In a previous trip we had taken 2,000 hospital gowns and 4,000 hospital sheets. If the women have no insurance they can come here and for 14 rand which is about $2.00 U.S. they can deliver their baby. The maternity ward and nursery and is a complex of old army barracks.
While waiting for the hospital official to come , we watched 8 very pregnant, definitely in labor women walk past us with file in hand to a wooden bench where they waited their turn to go in and deliver. This hospital delivers about 40 to 60 babies in a 12 hour period. Day in and day out. The mothers are allowed to stay 3 to 4 hours and are then sent home. The delivery area is a large room with 20 beds and only thread bare screens between them. One doctor is on staff and the babies are delivered by "Mid-Wives". After they deliver they are sent to "ward" where there are 24 beds which were all filled and the rest of the mothers were sitting on chairs around the room with their new babies in plastic bassinetts. This hospital delivers over 22,000 babies a year!
The nurse told us that all women are tested for HIV and if infected they start the babies on the antiviral medication right away. I asked if they had trouble getting the medication. They said no, but getting them to take it or bring the babies back is another problem. As we drove into the hospital there were two huge ads on the side of the road that said "Cure AIDS with Herbal Tea"
It has only been recently that the new Minister of Health has started an Aids/HIV program. The previous Minister of Health advocated garlic and herbal teas for a cure. He was actually laughted out of the UN meeting on Aids prevention.
The blankets and hats had been donated by a young women group from the states and came in 6 huge boxes which where put in shopping carts by the hospital and then rolled to the recovery area. Our mistake was not opening the boxes and checking them before we arrived. Some of the blanket had been make out of rough upholstery fabric. We were quite embarrased and set those aside. The nurses asked us what we were doing with that material. They wanted everything we had as some women who come to deliver don't have anything to wrap their babies in and they send them home wrapped in a plastic bag or the disposable pad they just delivered on! Three set of twins had been born that morning! We noticed that women were feeding their babies out of small cups --we were told that bottles and nipples are not available to the poorer mothers so they feed their newborns with these small cups. They try very hard to get these mothers to nurse their babies and try to teach them nutrition, but thy don't have the man power or funds to keep it going. This may be a project that they might want us to undertake.
Experiences like this make you realize how blessed we are to have had our children under better circumstances! Most of all our grandchildren had better circumstances too!