A PRI­VATE HOSPITAL BIRTH WITH­OUT THE MED­I­CAL AID PRICE TAG? YES PLEASE!

Your Pregnancy - - Pregnancy Files -

Hav­ing an un­com­pli­cated vagi­nal birth at a birth cen­tre is by far the most af­ford­able pri­vate op­tion; how­ever, even this can still burn a large hole in your bank bal­ance, and for many with­out med­i­cal aid, it’s only a pipe dream. For a large por­tion of pro­fes­sional South African women, pri­vate ma­ter­nity care is sim­ply not an op­tion with­out med­i­cal aid as­sis­tance, but they are still want­ing a more in­ti­mate, per­sonal birthing ex­pe­ri­ence than state hos­pi­tals can of­fer. Now, “this for­got­ten mid­dle class” as Sis­ter Con­nie Ngobeni, calls it, has ac­cess to an in­no­va­tive scheme, called The Birthing Team, aimed at pro­vid­ing pri­vate ma­ter­nity health­care to in­come-earning moth­ers who do not have med­i­cal aid. The scheme re­cently launched at Net­care’s Rand Hospital in Hill­brow, Jo­han­nes­burg and of­fers preg­nant women who do not have med­i­cal aid all-in­clu­sive, end-to-end ma­ter­nity care in a pri­vate hospital for a set fee of R19 500. This fee in­cludes a com­pre­hen­sive ini­tial screen­ing ap­point­ment of R1 500 be­fore you can be signed on, and then if you are el­i­gi­ble for the full pro­gramme, you will re­ceive at least three ul­tra­sounds, eight an­te­na­tal vis­its (six with a mid­wife and two with a doctor), three post­na­tal vis­its, all blood tests and ded­i­cated care dur­ing your nor­mal, vagi­nal de­liv­ery. The fee also in­cludes an emer­gency c-sec­tion, if one be­comes nec­es­sary. The catch? You need to pay up­front, and your preg­nancy needs to be lowrisk. “The best thing a woman can do is book early; it is prefer­able for her to come in for the ini­tial screen­ing at about 12 weeks,” says Con­nie. “To keep the ser­vice af­ford­able and sus­tain­able, we are un­able to man­age cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions,” says gy­nae­col­o­gist Dr Howard Many­onga. “Com­plex cases need to be re­ferred to and man­aged by spe­cial­ists in the pub­lic sec­tor.”

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