GENEROUS: A premature baby at the Groote Schuur premature unit. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA

Cape Town - To commemorate World Prematurity Day on Friday, Own Milk on the Move (MoM) Project, the first project aimed at increasing survival rates among premature babies in South Africa, will be launched at the Groote Schuur hospital on Thursday.

The MoM Project, in partnership with the Department of Health, is a collaboration made possible by Newborns Trust, Scully Scooters, the Relate Trust and Consol Glass.

According to the Department of Health, one in seven babies is born premature and 60 percent of those born weighing less than 1kg do not survive, mostly due to a lack of resources.

Provincial Department of Health spokesperson Monique Johnstone said the project enables mothers to get breast milk to their little ones in hospital - particularly premature babies, for whom the nourishing milk is essential.

“The project is for mothers who cannot afford to come out to hospitals. They can go to the MOU (maternity obstetrics unit) nearest to them, for example the Hanover Park MOU, the Gugulethu MOU or the Mitchells Plain MOU.

“MoM’s official launch takes place just a day ahead of World Prematurity Day on Friday. The day marks a global movement raising awareness of preterm birth and the health concerns of preterm babies.”

South African star athlete Wayde van Niekerk was a premature baby, born at just 29 weeks with a blood infection.

Van Niekerk’s mother, Odessa Swarts, said she was passionate about care for premature babies, a passion that rubbed off on her son, who donated R500 000 to Groote Schuur’s neonatal unit last year.

“Having a premature baby can be a very challenging and sometimes lonely journey. A project like this one, that understands the needs of a struggling mother and provides this kind of support, is a real blessing. Well done to all involved in the MoM Project,” Swarts said.

Recardo Swail was provided with a motorbike earlier this year sponsored by Relate, to enable him to be the first “MoM Mover”. Before that opportunity Swail was well-known in his area for taking the initiative and delivering medication by foot to residents in need.

Cape Times

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