Head of Division: Prof. Clarissa H. Pieper
The Division of Neonatal Medicine provides care to 38000 infants annually at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), Mowbray Maternity Hospital (MMH) and New Somerset Hospital (NSH) and 6 Midwife Obstetric Units in the Peninsula Maternal and Neonatal Service. All three hospitals have neonatal intensive care units and provide level 3 and level 2 care, while level I care is offered at the MOUs. GSH cares for infants born in the tertiary maternal unit, and Retreat MOU and supplies the quaternary services needed in the Peninsula. MMH and NSH care for most infants born to mothers needing level II care as well as most infants referred from the MOUs. The clinical follow-up is done at the MOUs and developmental assessment and follow up of infants is done in the treating hospital. In this way the PMNS continues to provide all three levels of neonatal care in an integrated fashion (a true seamless service). This is a very efficient, cost effective and extensively evaluated model of health care, which must not be fragmented but be protected at all costs. The Comprehensive Heath Care Plan (CSP) has underlined the severe shortage of staff in this service. The implementation of the CSP mains one of the great challenges to neonatology in the next few years.
The value of midwives and neonatal nurses as highly trained professionals must be respected and guarded. This is of great concern as the principles of the PMNS should be extended into a Perinatal service throughout the whole Province. Research has concentrated on the early recognition, management and follow-up of infants exposed to intra-partum hypoxia, infection risks and respiratory distress.
Great strides have been made in neonatal outreach and teaching areas with a successful program called LINC in Limpopo, outreach to Namibia and the George area.