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CB20: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

13 May 2012
Research shows that children of teen mothers are pre-disposed to birth defects for a variety of reasons, including socio-economic ones. And doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital say disorders are becoming more common – so no better time to receive a brand new ICU from the Carte Blanche Making A Difference campaign to treat babies desperately in need of specialised treatment.
Bara Making a Difference

A township just outside Krugersdorp is home to one-month-old baby Kitso, born with his bowel outside the abdominal cavity. His mother is 18-year-old Vodette Verland.

Vodette Verland (Kitso's mother): "They told me that his bowel was outside and then they said he has to be operated... the bowel has to be put back in his stomach .I firstly thought that he wasn't going to make it."

This condition is called gastroschesis and requires immediate surgical attention.

Dr Jerome Loveland (Paediatric surgeon): "It's a condition that has the potential for a very high mortality."

Dr Loveland is a paediatric surgeon at Baragwanath Hospital. He says their greatest challenge is providing ICU beds for newborns, like Kitso, who've undergone surgery. A shortage of beds puts their lives at risk.

Dr Loveland: "They become susceptible to hospital-acquired infections, which can be life threatening. And there are more than two or three cases that have died prior to surgery because of not being able to get access to a bed."

But now there's a six-bed ICU, paid for with money raised by the Carte Blanche Making A Difference Trust. The Operating Theatre Complex also has two new theatres. The new ICU can function as a high care ward or a post-surgical ICU to ventilate and support critically ill babies.

Cynthia Mgijima (Transnet Foundation): "It's gratifying to see that the contribution is being put to good use."

Cynthia Mgijima is head of the Transnet Foundation that donated R1-million.

Cynthia: "It was only natural for us to get involved because of the realisation of the shortages and the inequities that exist in the provision of healthcare."

Genetic disorders in babies like Kitso are becoming more prevalent, especially when born to young mothers. But lives are saved thanks to sponsors, including the Anglo American Chairman's Fund.

Norman Mbazima (Anglo American Chairman's Fund): "In addition to being Chairman of the Fund, I'm a parent. I was there when my kids were born. So to see a centre as excellent as this makes you feel really good."

Pamela Mudray (Sasol Corporate Social Investment): "It gives you hope; it gives you a sense of security that something is changing and something good is happening in this place."

Pamela Mudray is head of Sasol Corporate Social Investment."

Pamela: "The physicians and surgeons in training now have the opportunity to work with state-of-the art technology. This is changing the course of healthcare, not just for the residents of Soweto but healthcare in the country as a whole."

Medical supply companies have also aligned themselves with the campaign. Dräger donated R750 000 worth of equipment.

Gerhard van Driel (Dräger): "Humanity stops when you stop caring for other human beings and, for us, it's a huge thing to see. It's not only the babies that you're helping out but the family behind them."

Vodette was relieved when she could take her baby home ...

Vodette: "Ja, I was happy; I smiled all day. I was happy."

Producer : Leila Dougan
Presenter : n/a