I gave birth at a public clinic, as I’ve stated before in a previous blog. I gave birth at Johan Heyns Clinic in Vanderbijlpark. I went for my pre-natal appointments also at a public clinic in Sebokeng. I went to Albertina Sisulu Clinic in Zone 11, and to be quite honest, not all public health facilities are bad and not all nurses are horrible people; I can attest to that.
My biggest fear upon finding out about my pregnancy was realising that I was going to have to go to a public health facility throughout my pregnancy and I was going to have to give birth at a public health facility. The stories we hear about public health facilities are scary, and 90% of the time they are true! And to be honest, nobody wants to be faced with ill-treatment from someone who should be helping them.
As much as there are thousands of stories about how horrible public health facilities are, my story is entirely different. My experience was not that bad, actually it was not bad at all. The clinic I attended for my pre-natal appointments was good, I would rate it 7/10. The midwife was super hands-on to an extent that she knew almost all our names and there were about 25 of us each week. She was very informative, she wanted us to ask questions. She was spotless, her working space was always so clean. Not only that, but she was encouraging and tried her best to keep us motivated. Most importantly, she took us seriously. She would attend to the smallest issues we complained about, from backaches, headaches and even nausea, which are all pretty normal during pregnancy.
The clinic I gave birth at was also not bad. I spent a night there before giving birth. I arrived at the clinic at around midnight and when I got there there was one patient in the labour room. Basically I was the only patient that night until around 7 am when my roommate arrived, but she was quickly transferred to a hospital because of her blood pressure.
As the only patient I enjoyed the luxury of having the nurse’s full attention. At no point during my labour did I have to clean up after myself, the cleaning staff was also very hands-on.
After giving birth, I was moved to the postnatal ward and I was still the only patient. In the postnatal ward I was properly introduced to motherhood, they taught me everything I needed to know: about breastfeeding, bathing my baby, cord care, which danger signs to look out for, my postpartum recovery, and my baby got her first vaccines.
Overall, I believe there is still hope for South Africa’s public health facilities. On my next blog, I’ll be sharing tips on how to survive public health facilities.
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