NEW BORN: Registered Nurse Debbie Berner holding baby Owani Shumi. Picture: 
Danie van
der Lith

Kimberley - Two months after opening its doors to the Kimberley public, Lenmed’s Royal Heart Hospital recently welcomed its first baby, little Owani Shumi, who at 1.16kg is still in the hospital’s neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Owani, whose name means “mine”, was born on Sunday, at 30 weeks after her mother, Thembeka Shumi, had a Caesarean section, following complications with her pregnancy.

While Thembeka has already been discharged, Owani is expected to spend the next four to six weeks in the neonatal ICU.

“She has to weigh at least 2kg and be able to feed properly before she will be discharged,” registered nurse at the hospital, Debbie Berne, who is trained in neonatal, said.

Still too small for even an incubator, little Owani’s new protective environment is a servo-controlled crib, which though a small probe that is placed on the baby’s abdomen, allows the baby’s body heat to set the perfect temperature by regulating a heater.

“Once she is bigger, she will be placed in an incubator and then, when she can regulate her own temperature, she will be transferred to a crib before she will be allowed to go home,” Berne explained.

For now, however, little Owani receives 15ml of formula every three hours - up from the initial 5ml - as well as intravenous feeding to help her grow.

Born last Sunday, Owani was the first baby to be born at Lenmed Hospital, and by Saturday, two more babies had been welcomed by hospital staff.

According to hospital manager, Hector Mackay, the hospital is making good progress, with the bed occupancy rate currently around 70 percent.

“The occupancy rate was higher, up to around 80 percent, until we opened the maternity beds - this section is still fairly quiet as new moms have to book their delivery.”

The general surgery ward, as well as the ICU unit, are, however, already busy.

Besides the flurry of patients, the hospital has also in the last few days seen the arrival of a R20-million cath lab.

“It was too big to fit through the doors, so we had to bring it through the first floor window,” Mackay said.

The lab, which has not yet been commissioned, is expected to be up and running by the beginning of next year.

The cath lab consists of diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the arteries of the heart and the chambers of the heart and treat any stenosis or abnormality found and is the first one in the Northern Cape.

The linear accelerator, which is used for radiation therapy in certain cancer treatments, is also expected to be functioning by the beginning of next year, while the hospital is preparing to receive its first chemotherapy patients soon.

“We have come a long way since our first patient was admitted at the end of July,” MacKay said.

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