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Vosloorus maternity clinic provides much-needed relief for expectant mothers

Situated in the East of Johannesburg, the Vosloorus Township is home to more than 200 000 people and Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital is the only hospital around.

The challenge for the women of Vosloorus is that the Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital only has one maternity ward, delivering 900 babies per month. This ward is not enough to cater for every birth in Vosloorus. In October this year, Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital CEO Michael Malaka reported that the hospital needs over 600 additional healthcare workers to operate effectively. However, there is a saving grace for the maternity crisis in Vosloorus.

Over 20 years ago, Eluthandweni Maternity Health Services was established in efforts to close the gap and provide support to pregnant women in Vosloorus and surrounding areas.

Founder and Owner of Eluthandweni, Sister Nonina Diphoko says, “Eluthandweni started as a birthing clinic. We now offer a wide variety of services such as prenatal care, family planning and child immunisation.”

Although Diphoko founded the clinic, it was birthed based on her mother’s vision and legacy. “During apartheid, when riots were occurring in and around Vosloorus people were too scared to go to the hospital. Instead, they would come to my mother’s house and ask her to help deliver their babies. Despite the riots ending, the community petitioned for my mother to continue the maternal services.”

Today, Eluthandweni is a fully equipped and functional clinic assisting thousands of women on their birthing journeys. “We provide mother and child health services. We support the mother from the moment she finds out she’s pregnant to when she gives birth. We are open 24 hours, seven days a week, and we don’t have any holidays. We want people to fetch their medication at a time convenient to them so that they are not absent from their work,” Diphoko says.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 6700 new-born deaths are reported daily. Although new-born deaths are quite high from a global perspective, Eluthandweni manages to maintain a 0% new-born mortality rate.

This clinic not only boasts a stellar delivery record, but also prides itself in delivering babies through vaginal birth in a country with an unfortunately high caesarean section rate. Research suggests one in four babies in the public sector are birthed via caesarean section and seven in ten babies birthed via caesarean section in the private sector.

Speaking to how Eluthandweni helps mothers deliver safe babies through vaginal birth despite the high caesarean section rates, she says, “We also try our best to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible. Our doulas thoroughly prepare the patients and make sure they know what to expect during birth.”

“If there are complications with the pregnancy, caesarean sections are a safe option for both mother and baby,” she says. “However, when caesarean sections are performed to avoid the pain that comes with vaginal birth, it can lead to adverse effects. Caesarean sections also require numerous health practitioners and medication, making it the more expensive option.”

For Diphoko, this would not have been possible without the help and support of the AfroCentric Group. “Thanks to the company, since they started supporting us in 2011 I have been able to get the necessary machines, equipment and an ambulance that helped me expand the clinic and impact more women’s lives and their partners who have been significantly empowered. .

“We are proud of the amazing work Eluthandweni is doing,” says Palesa Makhetha, General Manager: PR, Branding, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at AfroCentric Group. “This clinic is a pillar in the Vosloorus community and has enabled the AfroCentric Group to reach disadvantaged women, many of whom cannot afford mammography services. Whether the result leads to a cancer diagnosis that can be effectively treated or to provide peace of mind that there is no evidence of cancer, we are humbled that our interventions have touched many people’s lives. We look forward to what the future holds for Eluthandweni.”

In the future, Diphoko hopes to have a maternity theatre to lighten the current load on Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital. This is a dream that healthcare groups like AfroCentric are making possible.

 

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