For decades, most stories from Cape Town’s District Six started with – “I was born at Peninsula Maternity Hospital!” The Peninsula Maternity Hospital was established in 1921 as a training hospital specialising in midwifery. It closed down in 1992. On the day of its closure, a group of nurses climbed up to the hospital’s roof to take a last look at Table Mountain and the surrounds where they served so many. Among them was sister Patience Watlington, or Sr Wattie, as many referred to her. Biénne Huisman sat down with the 80-year-old nursing veteran as she reflected on life as a midwife in District Six.
May 5th is International Day of the Midwife. Ufrieda Ho chatted to the remarkable nurse and midwife Boitumelo Motsei about her 37 years working in healthcare and why she still has hope for the nursing profession.
Being a midwife is not a career for her, says Sebabatso Tsosane – it’s a calling. Refilwe Mochoari spoke to Tsosane – a midwife, lecturer, and founder of the Free State-based organisation Black Women Arise – about her passion to empower women with knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health as part of Spotlight’s Women in Health series.
Research released on Wednesday shows a significant drop in antenatal and follow-up visits to health facilities during South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown. To help understand these statistics, Tiyese Jeranji spoke to some health workers and new and expecting mothers about being pregnant in a pandemic.
While the word midwife often conjures up images of old-fashioned births, the profession is still a vital part of modern health care. Spotlight spoke to some midwives and those involved in training about what it takes to be a midwife.