The ‘Wright’ Person for the Job
The ‘Wright’ Person for the Job
- International Day of the Midwife - Midwives leading the way with quality care
05 May 2018: According to the Western Cape Government Health 2018/ 2019 Annual Performance Plan approximately 46 621 pregnant women are expected to visit Public Health facilities in the province before the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy – all of these women will need the experience and guidance of a midwife.
“Women are at their most vulnerable during labour and while giving birth. It requires a special person with unique qualities to assist women during the labour and delivering process. Midwives therefore play a vital role in ensuring women and their newborns are healthy and safe during pregnancy and childbirth,” says Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, in commemoration of International Day of the Midwife, acknowledged annually on the 5th of May.
With more than 36 years of service in the nursing fraternity, Lameez Wright (55), Operational Nursing Manager at Mowbray Maternity Hospital, has dedicated 27 years of her career to midwifery. “I started my nursing career in 1981 at the then Nico Malan Nursing College and completed my practical training at Groote Schuur Hospital in various departments. I became a Registered Midwife in 1991 at Mowbray Maternity Hospital. Follow this, I completed my post-graduate studies in Psychiatry, Nursing Management, Advanced Midwifery and Neonatology at the University of Stellenbosch.
“Midwives play an incredibly important role and have historically been the first health resource for pregnant women around the world – I am exceptionally proud to be a midwife,” says Wright.
The Sherwood Park resident and mother of one explains that for many years’ midwives have been a part of caring for a women’s sexual and reproductive health. “Many years ago there were numerous midwives practising in a private capacity in the northern and southern suburbs of Cape Town as well as rural areas. More recently, the establishment of Midwife Obstetric Units (MOUs), managed by midwives, provides 24 - hour maternal and obstetrical services for primary healthcare patients,” explains Wright.
As the largest dedicated maternity hospital in South Africa, Mowbray Maternity Hospital offers specialist maternal and neonatal services. The facility also provides obstetric and neonatal clinical support to five Midwife Obstetric Units (MOU); namely False Bay, Gugulethu, Hanover Park, Mitchells Plain and Retreat.
“Mowbray Maternity Hospital’s workload has increased from 4 500 deliveries per year in 1993 to over 10 000 deliveries annually in recent years. We are able to continuously render quality maternal services due to our dedicated staff and professional midwives,” says Karin Moore, Deputy Manager: Nursing at Mowbray Maternity Hospital.
Moore explains that being a midwife is more than just delivering babies. “A midwife is usually the first and main contact for the woman during her pregnancy, throughout labour and the early postnatal period. She is responsible for providing care and supporting women to make informed choices about their care,” says Moore.
Echoing the same sentiments, Wright explains that midwives should be patient, dedicated, empathetic and possess a reassuring attitude. “Midwifery is a rewarding and challenging profession. It is indeed a calling, which can be emotionally draining and challenging at times, but is most often uplifting and fulfilling. It is a powerful and important role,” explains Wright.
The facility boasts a staff compliment of 361 of which 128 are Professional Midwives. According to Wright, there still remains a great need for skilled and experienced midwives. “More women with complicated pregnancies and other health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS are referred to Regional and Tertiary Hospitals. This increases the need for specialist services and skilled midwives” says Wright.
She adds that it is also the responsibility of experienced midwives to supervise and mentor younger midwives. “We know that skilled midwives delivering high-quality care safeguards healthy families and thriving communities. It is therefore imperative that mentoring of younger midwives, within a healthcare setting, is considered to be fundamental in their development and education.
“It is important that just as midwives bring a new generation of infants into the world, we, as mentors, are delivering the next generation of midwives by passing on our knowledge, skills and professionalism,” concludes Wright.
– ENDS –