Knitting for good: Volunteers join healthcare workers to celebrate KMC Week | Western Cape Government

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2021
Associated GC: 
(Western Cape Government)
147

Knitting for good: Volunteers join healthcare workers to celebrate KMC Week

19 November 2021

Local knitting clubs have donated bags of clothing for premature babies to celebrate Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) Week Awareness Week.

KMC Awareness Week is celebrated from 15 to 19 November by parents, communities, organisations and healthcare institutions that appreciate and acknowledge the benefits of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC).

 

Sr Jasmine Bowman hands over knitted clothing to mom Kayla Reneke for baby Zeah.

Sr Jasmine Bowman hands over knitted clothing to mom Kayla Reneke for baby Zeah.


This year, baby clothes from the Milnerton Women's Auxiliary and Bothasig Ladies Knitting Club was donated to mothers at Karl Bremer Hospital, Tygerberg Hospital, Elsies River Community Health Centre, Kraaifontein Community Health Centre and Bishop Lavis Community Day Centre.

Sr Bernadette Philander started the knitting project five years ago with the hopes of making a difference and supporting parents of premature babies.

“It started with a thought of making a difference in our community at large by approaching ladies, as I noticed they would sit at our day hospital with their own crochet kits. I decided to approach these ladies and to ask if they’d like to assist create clothes for premature babies while they wait at the day hospital to be seen. We are now over 50 active knitters. We’re doing this because it’s difficult to find clothes for premature babies in our shops and we want to raise awareness around this cause and caring for premature babies.”

Dr Michael Phillips, the director for health services in the Northern and Tygerberg Substructure, has thanked the knitting clubs and community members for their support.

“KMC has been shown to be a safe effective and affordable method of caring for infants in many contexts around the world, in our own country and in our own province. As a department, we are consistently and continuously striving to create awareness and improve all levels, aspects and standards of kangaroo mother care facilities. We thank our donors for their support to raise awareness and support parents and babies at our facilities.” 



WHAT IS KMC AND ITS BENEFITS?

Kangaroo mother care involves skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding, which significantly improves a premature or low birthweight baby’s chances of survival.

Starting kangaroo mother care immediately after birth has the potential to save up to 150,000 more lives each year, compared with the current recommendation of starting it only once a baby is stable, according to the World Health Organisation.

KMC is an especially important intervention for babies that are born prematurely. As part of the Western Cape Government Health Mother Baby Friendly initiative policy, all babies must be placed in the skin-to-skin position immediately after birth and should remain in that position for at least an hour. This only applies to healthy babies.

 

Fathers are not excluded from this practice, and during visiting hours, fathers are encouraged to practice skin to skin care as well. Skin to skincare has many benefits for both mother and baby. Besides being good for bonding, it also provides warmth to the baby, regulates the baby’s heartbeat, and enhances lactation. Babies have direct access to the breast and can feed at any time.

Deputy Nursing Manger at Karl Bremer Hospital, Ethel Linden-Mars, shares that KMC empowers parents and the family unit as a whole: “The family benefits by being included in the team involved in caring for their infant. The parents are empowered through gaining confidence in handling their infant resulting in better bonding. The improvement in the longer duration of breastfeeding is also of benefit to the mother. The care of the premature baby can be challenging, but the support given to the parents in how to care for this precious gift by a multi-disciplinary team enhances the confidence of the parents and family unit.”

Moms Jeca Pietersie and Kayla Reneke thanked the donors for the knitted gifts and healthcare workers for their support. The mothers and premature babies received care at the Karl Bremer Hospital.

“The doctors and nurses have taken good care of us and our babies and guided us. I want to say thank you to them and to the ladies for the knitted gifts,” Pieterse said.

Western Cape Government Health believes that the first 1 000 days in a child’s development, starting from conception, moving through pregnancy, birth, and after the first 2 years of life, are crucial for securing a child’s bright future. Your child’s health is most vulnerable during the first 1 000 days of its life. The right care and nutrition during this time helps to:

  • develop their brains
  • fuel their physical growth
  • build up a strong immune system
  • improve their school readiness and educational achievement
  • reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life

 

We encourage healthy nutrition for both mom and baby and encourage families and communities to support moms and new babies on their journeys.

Western Cape Government Health believes that the first 1 000 days in a child’s development, starting from conception, moving through pregnancy, birth, and after the first 2 years of life, are crucial for securing a child’s bright future. Your child’s health is most vulnerable during the first 1 000 days of its life. The right care and nutrition during this time helps to:

•          develop their brains

•          fuel their physical growth

•          build up a strong immune system

•          improve their school readiness and educational achievement

•          reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life

 

We encourage healthy nutrition for both mom and baby and encourage families and communities to support moms and new babies on their journeys.