By Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Ministry of Health:
Today, Minister Mbombo launched the “What to Expect – when you’re expecting” Campaign at the Vanguard Community Health Centre. This is a campaign to educate expectant mothers about what to expect before, during, and after birth at public health facilities.
The Western Cape Government recognised the need to educate potential and soon-to-be mothers about what they can expect from the public health system from the day they confirm their pregnancy to the day the baby is born.
This is specifically designed to manage the expectations of our clients, and to provide guidelines for healthy pregnancies.
For any mother, having a baby can be a scary experience. We are determined to ensure that expectant mothers are better prepared and have better experiences at our facilities.
This initiative forms part of the broader objectives of Healthcare 2030 which seeks to improve patient experience of the public healthcare system.
Having analysed the nature of complaints we receive, it is clear that many relate to a lack of information around maternal and child health matters. There is a need to empower the communities we serve with information about:
- The different packages of service offered at facilities;
- The responsibility of both the patient and the healthcare worker;
- The correct channels of complaints or feedback
We will ensure that more and more expectant moms have good experiences at our facilities.
This is also an opportunity to introduce the importance of the First 1000 days in a child’s life, another campaign that will be rolled out later this year. Its main aim is to ensure that babies get the right kind of care, nutrition and stimulation. This is the best chance we have at breaking the cycles of poverty, violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
During the interaction with soon-to-be moms we also emphasised the MomConnect application that is available as a major source of support for expectant mothers.
Information booklets and pamphlets are available at all midwife obstetric units across the province as a guide to navigating the public health system.
We would also like to urge service users to let us know when things go wrong or give us feedback.
The Department of Health currently has a system in place where compliments/complaints may be lodged at facility level.
The current process of complaints is to lodge them directly with the facilities. You can also dial our hotline on 0860 142 142, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or send a please call me to 079 769 1207.
We are continuously working towards improving patient experience at all our facilities. We have also advertised for the appointment of an Independent Health Complaints Committee. This Committee will be independent from the department.
These are measures in which to get communities more involved in the healthcare process because I believe in a whole of society approach.