By Godfred A. Polkuu
Sandema (U/E), Nov 24, GNA – The Staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Sandema Hospital in the Upper East Region have called on mothers-in-law to show love and support to their daughters-in-law who deliver preterm babies.
They said preterm babies were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy and were, therefore, not evil babies as perceived by some members of the public, especially mothers-in-law and other family members.
They mentioned maternal infections and conditions such as uncontrolled high Blood Pressure, which could lead to a Caesarean Section, to save the life of the expectant mother and the preterm baby as some risk factors of preterm deliveries.
The nurses said teenage pregnancy and multiple pregnancies were also risk factors and reiterated the need for love and support for such mothers and their babies from all family members and friends.
The staff emphasized that there was no need for family members, especially mothers-in-law to despise their daughters-in-law who delivered such babies or tag them as evil or spirit babies.
The staff of the unit went on a float on major streets in the Sandema township to raise awareness on this year’s World Prematurity Day celebration and made the call when they interacted with traders at the main Sandema market.
Even though the World Prematurity Day is observed annually on November 17, with this year’s celebration held on the theme: “A Parent’s Embrace; a Powerful Therapy,” the celebration spread across the entire month by various new-born care units across the country.
The NICU staff, clad in branded purple T-shirts, walked into shops and engaged members of the public on the need to show love to preterm babies and their mothers insisting that “Preterm babies are not evil. Let us show them love.”
They also used the float to solicit cash from members of the public to enable them buy basic baby items to support some neglected needy mothers in the Units to care for their babies.
Ms. Patience Aworodago Apuri, the Head of NICU, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview after staff’s engagement with the traders that even though some mothers at the Unit initially showed love and care to their daughters-in-law, with time they got fed-up and left.
“So, we encourage families, husbands and the mothers-in-law, especially to give them that love and support that they need to take care of the preterm babies,” she said.
According to her, it was very difficult and delicate to care for such babies, saying, “it is only a preterm mother that can tell you how it feels like to spend a day in the Hospital caring for her preterm baby. The babies need time, and patience to grow.”
Madam Sadia Mumuni, a trader and mother of a preterm baby, who shared her experience with the Ghana News Agency, said she was fortunate to receive love, care and support from her mother-in-law when she delivered.
“My mother-in-law supported me. In those days, she will use shea-butter on the baby to keep him warm, and today, my son is a teacher in Tamale. So the love and support is important,” she said.
Another trader, Madam Efia Adidani, said she delivered her baby at seven months, and with support from her mother-in-law, coupled with the education from health professionals on the care of preterm babies, her baby survived and grew well just like other children born at full-term.