Unveiling of Baby-Friendly Plaque at Bishop Lavis Midwife Obstetrics Unit
Today is a special occasion for this Community Health Centre - the acknowledgement of their international accreditation as a baby-friendly obstetrics unit. But in my address today, I will first share with you some background about this community, because the socio-economic conditions in Bishop Lavis puts a whole new spin and perspective on the baby-friendly accreditation.
- Bishop Lavis has an estimated population of 45 000 of which approximately 96% are from the coloured ethnic group. Afrikaans is the predominantly spoken language (90%) of people, with approximately 9% speaking English. A total of 10.8% of the population are children younger than five years.
- Seventy percent of the dwellings are houses or brick structures with a yard. Most dwellings have electricity and 81% have piped water inside the dwelling. The majority of those have a flush toilet connected to a sewerage system. A total of 99% of the dwellings have refuse removal by the local authorities at least once per week.
- Bishop Lavis has two high schools and seven primary schools.
- Half of the population have finished Grade 8-11, while only 16.2% have finished Grade 12.
- A total of 66.2% of the population aged 15-65 is employed. Around 53% of the employed people earn less than R1 600 per month. The other 43% of the population earn between R1 600 - R6 400 per month.
The Western Cape Government's strategic objective of creating wellness sounds like a highly philosophical objective, but standing here today, this objective speaks directly to the socio-economic challenges faced by this community on a daily basis.
The focus in primary healthcare is on the growth of health and wellness and the prevention of disease, in particular maternal and child health, chronic diseases of lifestyle including the impact of substance abuse, mental well-being and infectious diseases such as HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis.
As part of this objective and our efforts to reduce the mortality of children under the age of five years, the department is running a "saving mothers and children" plan with a Road to Health Booklet to monitor the newborn baby's health and development right from birth and, in this process, detect and treat disease as early as possible.
On this road towards child health, we can be proud that 18 of our hospitals have been awarded baby-friendly status. There are only two private hospitals in the Western Cape with this accreditation.
The Western Cape has 74 public and private hospitals with maternity wards, of which only 20 boasts the BFHI accreditation.
It is an international accreditation promoting breastfeeding as the only form of feeding after birth. The accreditation is re-evaluated every three years, and requires dedication and hard work from the staff in the maternity units.
Bishop Lavis CHC started working towards baby-friendly accreditation status with the formulation and implementation of the infant feeding policy to change the care practices in 2008. This facility has undergone at least three internal assessments after the completion of a self-appraisal. Their determination certainly deserves recognition.
Background about Bishop Lavis MOU
Bishop Lavis Midwife Obstetrics Unit commenced its services in 1975 under the governance of Tygerberg Hospital. Services were mainly intrapartum, postnatal and neonatal phototherapy.
Until the early 1990s, the unit handled 80 deliveries per month on average. The staff component at this stage was four to five midwives, three to four enrolled nurses or nursing assistants, a clerk and a general assistant.
On 1 November 1997, the management of the Obstetrics Unit was moved from Tygerberg Hospital to the Metro district health services as a primary healthcare facility. Services now expanded to include antenatal services as well. The staff component decreased to two midwives and one nurse and one assistant per shift, while the number of deliveries increased, as the Delft community was rapidly expanding.
Three years ago, in November 2009, management changed again with the division of the Metro Health District into four substructures.
At present, the Bishop Lavis Obstetrics Unit is managed by the facility manager, Ms Carelse, and supported by the Primary Healthcare Manager and facility-based service manager of the Northern/Tygerberg Substructure.
The Obstetrics Unit has 23 beds, with 11 being postpartum beds. The average number of mothers giving birth to full-term babies is eight per day, and an average of 250 births per month.
Bishop Lavis MOU offers antenatal services, labour and delivery services and post-natal services, including phototherapy.
Approximately 3% of mothers arrive at the MOU for delivery without having received any antenatal care.
The primary healthcare model now aims to provide comprehensive care, and the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV is a programme that has been incorporated into maternity services.
The Peer Counsellor programme was also introduced to increase education to mothers - both ante-natally and post-natally - on appropriate practices of feeding their newborn baby.