By: Hendrina Kanyolo
A 23-year-old man born as a premature baby, weighing only 500grams, which is the size of a small sugar packet, encouraged mothers with such newborns to have confidence in their ability to grow and succeed.
Speaking at the commemoration of the world premature day held at Windhoek Central Hospital yesterday, Gurschzon Van Wyk advised mother's caring for preterm babies to follow the nurse's advice.
Described as a living miracle, the young man said although he survived up to his current age, he faced many challenges growing up.
Van Wyk, who as a baby could fit in someone’s palm, stated that his mother’s love gave him hope and helped him grow into a young man who wants to give back to society.
“I also experienced problems in life as I grew up. I developed blindness, vision problems while in grade 4. So, mom and I prayed. We went to doctors and after those worries, I got my vision back and it was only through God himself. I would like to inspire the mothers- that you should believe in yourself and believe in your babies that they will become one of the best in life. Don’t lose hope. Keep praying and thank God for bringing a miracle in the world,” said van Wyk.
In addition, a social worker at a Side by Side early intervention centre, Michelle Zeelie, encouraged new mothers to concentrate on self-care after delivery.
Zeelie said it is important for new mothers to exercise and concentrate on their mental health well-being after giving birth.
She noted if the mother can not take care of herself then she won’t be able to fully nurture the baby. “When you realise something is not right. Please contact a nurse,” advised Zeelie.
She also told mothers that it is important to have positive thoughts, practice worshiping and have a trusted person to speak to.
“ When the burden gets too heavy, please talk to someone. We have amazing social workers at the hospital, go talk to them. They are there to help you”.
Deputy Minister of Health and Social Service, Ester Muinjangue, emphasised that the fathers presence plays an important role in the development and their survival of preterm babies through skin-to-skin contact from the moment of birth.
Muinjangue further said that despite high neonatal and premature death rates, the ministry continues to work towards improving the health outcomes of these babies.