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Changing 500 nappies a day? That's normal at St Joseph's
For the past 85 years, this beacon in paediatric care in Southern Africa has been providing general and specialised nursing care and rehabilitation therapy for over 23 000 children from vulnerable communities.
Their annual Happy Nappy Drive is underway and emphasises the tremendous needs of St Joseph's in the practical aspects of looking after and taking care of medically fragile children.
"On average children with life-limiting conditions stay for six months at the 175-bed facility, receiving holistic and multi-disciplinary medical treatment free of charge," says Christa Robijn, St Joseph's Resource Development Manager.
She adds: "Every 24 hours we use more than 500 nappies and our annual nappy bill is more than R500,000. The Happy Nappy Drive is vital to meeting our children's needs and keeping them comfortable, and our goal this year is to raise R200,000 and collect over 5,000 nappies."
As St Joseph's treats children with life limiting and life-threatening illnesses it uses disposable diapers as it has been proven that disposable diapers are effective in decreasing probable sepsis in neonates.
"Using disposable diapers also decreases the number of diapers used per day," Christa explains, "and also the number of times a nurse comes into contact with a baby, especially during these COVID-19 times. Operationally, our in-house laundry also has limited capacity. Of course, we care about the environment, but we also care about a high standard of critical medical care and disposable items are needed to achieve this."
Not considered medical
As nappies are not considered medical consumables by the Department of Health, this puts an extra financial burden on parents in the vulnerable communities, especially parents of chronically ill children.
Says Christa: "As a non-profit organisation, St Joseph's runs a 175-bed facility and we rely on donations from organisations and individuals to enable us to provide the best quality care for our children."
To join the Happy Nappy Drive:
St Joseph's Home for Chronically Ill Children