A maternity home has popped up in East London – giving pregnant women who might not want to give birth in hospitals another option.
Registered with the department of health, Metro Maternity Home (MMH) in Selborne is a stand alone private facility that allows low risk pregnant women to give birth in a midwifery led unit at a cost.
It opened in October.
For first time mothers, the home costs R16,000 and for successive delivery, it is R15,000.
MMH is managed by retired medical doctor Buyiswa Mjamba who worked as a chief director for quality assurance for the department of health and as a CEO of the Health Professions Council of South Africa(HPCSA).
Mjamba, 63, retired from the HPCSA with the intention of being a typical grandmother looking after her grandchildren but life had other plans for her.
“I did not have a formal plan but I just wanted to relax because I had been working since 1981,” she said.
She recalled getting a call from gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Sidwell Sifumba, who said he wanted to see her.
“He told me he had permission from the department of health and a licence for this place.
“He said all the equipment had been bought and the staff waiting in the wings and he needed me to manage the place.
“I agreed on the basis that I knew my background from working in quality assurance would help me demand and maintain the highest of standards,” Mjamba said.
MMH has a resident midwife who looks after women and nurses are requested on demand from an agency.
Patients come by appointment provided they meet the following strict criteria:
Must be a low-risk pregnancy;
Woman must have been seen by a gynaecologist at least twice during the pregnancy;
The last visit must be at 36 weeks or later;
Fees must be paid before the due date; and
They must be referred by a gynaecologist.
The facility is for natural birth patients and if there are complications, women are referred to their hospitals of choice.
It is a fully equipped labour ward with beds, gas, bouncing balls, bath tub and neonatal emergency kits.
They also offer antenatal consultations.
HIV-positive patients are not considered high risk if they are on treatment.
Resident midwife Karen Waheeb said she was passionate about assisting women give birth in the most “natural, tranquil and homely” environment.
When the Dispatch visited MMH, Sifumba was busy with a patient and subsequently could not be reached for comment later.