Every year the Tygerberg Hospital nurses mark World Prematurity Day (17 November) with a walk in the precincts of the Hospital. The community in the immediate surroundings of the Hospital join in and attention is focused on what many consider the world’s most overlooked public health issue.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), premature birth is a very serious health problem, and it is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide – more than 1 million deaths each year.
Currently in South Africa, 41 % of children who die under the age of 5 years are new-borns, and this number is rising. But, while complications from prematurity are the leading cause of new-born mortality, the babies that survive may have more health issues than babies born on time and may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, the lungs, hearing or vision.
This year, we wish to celebrate the nurses, doctors and staff of Tygerberg Hospital who through extraordinary odds, are able to provide a meaningful service to approximately 4000 annual preterm babies in the care of Tygerberg Hospital’s Neonatal ICU.
In consideration thereof, we will focus our efforts on making their work easier and increasing their impact, by raising funds for much needed equipment to replace those that are in disrepair because of the excessive demand placed on them. We are hopeful, that in time, we may increase the volume of equipment to adequately handle the capacity demands placed on our Neonatal ICU.
On the 17th November 2019, our little Trust which supports the Children of Tygerberg Hospital is also celebrating World Prematurity Day to raise awareness of the problem and the great work done by our hospital. We wish also to give our children, especially the hospital bound, an opportunity to simply have fun and celebrate together with our community, the good work being done at Tygerberg Hospital.
As you are aware, Tygerberg Hospital provides specialist medical care for more than half of the babies and children in the Western Cape, who come almost exclusively from indigent communities, as well as for children from the Northern and Eastern Cape. Annually, approximately 16 000 babies and children are admitted to the ±300 inpatient beds at Tygerberg Hospital. Many of these children, remain in hospital for lengthy periods of time.
In respect of stated focus on prematurity, we graciously ask you to consider the following projects:
- THERAPEUTIC HYPOTHERMIA (COOLING)
- MONITORING OF NEUROLOGICAL STATUS
- PROMOTING GAS EXCHANGE AND OXYGENATION
The Tygerberg Hospital Department of Paediatrics are therefore in urgent need of new cooling devices and supporting equipment in order to continue providing this critically needed service, and we would be grateful for any support.
The Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust proposes to increase the Hospitals capacity to provide this treatment to more of our children than is currently possible, and to prevent that repairs and consequent ‘down time’ means that there are fewer units available for use.