GEORGE NEWS - Born prematurely on 18 April 2018 and weighing only 880g, baby Melokuhle Nqinata spent 200 days in the George Hospital's neonatal unit before going home just in time for the festive season. Nadia Ferreira, the communications officer for the Department of Health in the Garden Route and Central Karoo districts, said another milestone was celebrated on 7 March 2019 when he no longer needed home oxygen therapy.
His mother, Asisipho, is thankful for the nursing staff.
"The journey was a traumatic experience with the constant fear that Melokuhle would not survive, but with the help of the dedicated staff at George Hospital's neonatal unit the weight on our shoulders was made lighter."
She said the relief of having your premature baby discharged is filled, for many, with fear of taking care of your baby on your own.
"I felt confident and competent in administering the oxygen and medication as the nursing staff of the neonatal unit ensured that I was equipped with all the knowledge needed." Melokuhle's father, Sphelo Pikoko, is also grateful for the help of the neonatal staff. He salutes his wife for her endurance with the challenges they faced during this period.
Sphelo was unable to spend his days at the hospital as he had to work and he had to leave his wife and firstborn son in the care of the hospital staff.
"It is a blessing that I can now come home to my wife and son after a long day at work," he said.
The parents thanked the neonatal staff for their exceptional service and ability to persevere when others would have given up. With years of experience in neonatology, Dr Ilse Els-Goussard said that this story should be shared with the world.
"There were many opportunities when Melokuhle, his parents and the staff could have given up, but perseverance was seen from all sides and that is the beauty and the miracle that the public needs to see."
She said baby Melokuhle is one of many premature babies who have been successfully treated and taken care of at the hospital.
"It was wonderful that we could arrange home oxygen through Vital Air for Melokuhle. This helped him to go home and be in his home environment. We are really grateful to have this to offer to state patients requiring long-term home oxygen therapy," said Els-Goussard.
The first 1 000 days of these babies' lives are crucial. Western Cape Government Health has launched the First Thousand Days Campaign in an effort to communicate the importance of the first two years of a child's life and what is needed to give each child the best chance possible.
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