How care and hygiene foster good maternal and infant health

Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

WellnessCommunity AffairsHealth Welfare IssuesParenting

The month of May has come with a lot of change. Not only a change in seasons, but a national one as South Africa moves from level 5 to level 4 of the lockdown period. From a health and wellbeing perspective, May celebrated World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5 as well as World Nurses Day today, on May 12. 

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The Mother and Child Academic Hospital Foundation (MACAH F) is one of the leading foundations at the forefront of mother and child health. Having dedicated health services and facilities for mothers and children is a mammoth investment in building the foundation of any economy. Critical to these services and facilities is the role nurses play during a mother’s pregnancy and the period from baby’s conception to the end of their 2nd birthday.

“The role of nurses is vital in the care of pregnant mothers and their children. Without nurses, the specialised services and facilities we offer will become white elephants. We need the nurses to administer the services in projects like our ‘Make the first 1000 days Count’ initiative, which is key in ensuring mothers get the best care for the first 1000 days of their baby’s life”, says Professor André Venter, founder member and Director of the MACAH Foundation.

In addition, when prioritising nursing healthcare for babies, it is also essential to observe good health protocols by ensuring that parents instill good hygiene habits and encourage their offsprings to wash their hands regularly with soap and water. Not only has this hygiene practice been amplified during the time of COVID-19, but it is a simple practice that has lasting effects in building resilient children and creating lowered risks of spreading germs from child to child.

“During the first 1000 days, a child’s brain forms as many as 1000 neural connections every second, a once-in-a-lifetime pace that will never be repeated during their lives ever again. The standard of health and hygiene provide supportive measures to the development of baby during this time which will impact the course of their lives either for the better or worse. A healthy child can grow and progress into a healthy life”, concludes Venter.

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