Joining hands to save the future

Recently on International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, we were privileged to be part of the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital’s Immediate Kangaroo Mother Care Unit launch event.

The unit, housed within the Mbuya Nehanda Maternity, was specially designed to allow mothers with pre-term babies to assist their children with much-needed bodily warmth, acting as a natural incubator.

Its operations which began on April 22 are showing great promise, as the healthcare professionals in the ward report that the number of pre-term baby deaths has reduced. However, it is still too early to come up with a definitive number or percentage.

The unit is the first in Zimbabwe and there is shared hope that the concept be replicated in major hospitals across the country.

A nurse in the newly established Kangaroo Care Mother Unit at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare. (Picture by Tatenda Mapigoti/Higherlife Foundation).

Higherlife Foundation through its partnership with ELMA Philanthropies provided all the key equipment needed to assist the mothers and their newborns. This includes CPAP Machines, Rescuscitaires, Syringe Pumps, Air-Oxygen blenders, Infusion Pumps, Saturation Monitors, Stainless Steel trays and an oxygen Compressor.

Higherlife Foundation provided all the equipment in the ward and will help the hospital with its maintenance. (Picture by Tatenda Mapigoti/Higherlife Foundation).

Higherlife Foundation provided additional support by financing the building of a separate structure which houses the heavy-duty Air Compressor which was procured by other partners.
Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Ward team lead Matron Nyamburu said the unit has improved the quality of the service they are providing.

Early impact…Nurses manning the ward say the Unit is showing signs of promise, although it is too early to make numerical deductions. (Picture by Tatenda Mapigoti/Higherlife Foundation).

“Our mothers can bond with their newborns and our staff is also very motivated as this has significantly improved the work they are doing.”

Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital Neonatologist Dr Alex Stevenson said the new unit will help them move away from dark days where they had to carry the heavy burden of telling families that they have lost their pre-term babies.

He said the unit will help reduce pre-term mortality from 50 percent to a region of about 25 percent or lower.
The unit saw the power of community as different organisations and corporates came together to collectively contribute to its setup. Other players who came in with support include Australian Aid, Halsteds, Dulux, DripTech, Pro-Dairy and the Renewal Church.