Pur­ple reigns as fundrais­ing cam­paign be­gins

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - PAIGE SUTHER­LAND

IN HON­OUR of World Pre­ma­tu­rity Day, staff at the neonatal unit of Groote Schuur Hos­pi­tal and the tiny new­borns they care for all donned pur­ple yes­ter­day.

Lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing the Cape Ar­gus, New­borns Groote Schuur Trust, Good Hope FM and Ogilvy Pub­lic Re­la­tions, are join­ing forces to raise R26 mil­lion to ex­pand Groote Schuur’s neonatal unit and up­grade equip­ment.

All the out­fits the in­fants were wear­ing were do­nated by Naartjie Kids.

Of 15 mil­lion ba­bies born pre­ma­turely world­wide ev­ery year, 8 per­cent are born in South Africa. And at Groote Schuur, of ev­ery 3 200 ba­bies they care for, more than 500 are born pre­ma­turely. The tiny ba­bies weigh less than 1.5kg – or less than half the av­er­age birth weight.

Al­though the unit saves the lives of more than 90 per­cent of pre­ma­ture and un­der­weight ba­bies an­nu­ally, over­crowd­ing is a huge chal­lenge. Cur­rently, bed oc­cu­pancy at Groote Schuur is at 150 per­cent, rather than the ideal 80 per­cent.

Most of the equip­ment in the unit is at least 10 years old and is costly to run. The hos­pi­tal is look­ing to buy new equip­ment such as in­cu­ba­tors, cere­bral func­tion mon­i­tors and ven­ti­la­tors.

● For in­for­ma­tion on how to do­nate, visit www.new­borns.org.za.

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