We were very
fortunate to host a group of Nursing Students from the University of Delaware
in January 2019. They come to the Eastern Cape to assist with the improvement
of maternal health services and feminine education. Below is an article that
featured in the Daily Dispatch on the 31 Jan 2019.
BONDED: University of Delaware
nursing students with Professor Lisa McBeth and Frere Hospital CEO Dr Rolene
The University of Fort Hare’s health sciences faculty is
partnering with the nursing department at the University of Delaware in the USA
to improve maternal health services in the Eastern Cape.
The collaboration is set to see students from both
universities spending time in academic hospitals to share skills and exchange
clinical and academic knowledge.
Students and facilitators from the US university have been
in the Eastern Cape since Thursday, when they launched the Banda Pad initiative
in Gcina village in Mazeppa Bay.
They arrived in the city on Monday, and have been on
rotational visits to the Frere and Cecilia Makiwane maternity wards.
On Wednesday the group of 33 was working in the Frere
maternity ward and the neonatal ICU.
Fort Hare international relations morbidity programmes
coordinator Xolelwa ScottGeorge said the collaboration would be formalised by
memorandums of understanding between the two universities. She said the
partnership was a first for the university, which has existing relations with
other international institutions.
“We will have more students from Delaware coming here to
learn from us, and we will also send ours there. The collaboration between the
health faculties will meet the needs of all students by balancing academics
with clinical experience.”
Delaware school of nursing’s professor Lisa McBeth said the
collaboration will see students exchange experiences in clinical settings.
McBeth said the university would bring their birthing
programmes to rural parts of the province to educate women and families in
rural settings on the do’s and don’t’s of the birthing process, antenatal care
and the use of contraceptives.
She said this help would fight some causes of maternal
deaths, such as haemorrhaging.
The Dispatch reported in October that health MEC Helen
Sauls-August had said deaths of pregnant women during and within 40 days of
giving birth decreased from 135 for every 100,000 live births in 2016-17 to 128
Frere CEO Dr Rolene Wagner said the hospital still saw a
significant number of stillborns, which she said could be avoided if pregnant
moms acted on the symptoms they experienced.
The university’s visit comes as an East London woman, who
gave birth prematurely, accused the hospital of negligence after she miscarried
at 24 weeks.
The woman said she gave birth on Saturday without any
assistance from nurses after none of them came to her rescue when she cried for
help. Wagner said the pregnancy was classified as unviable.
“Two of the doctors on duty explained the diagnosis, the
likely outcome, to her.”