Heroes of Groote Schuur highlight the career of Sister Melony Williams, who has been with the maternity ward for 23 years.
Cape Town, South Africa (18 January 2024) – Heroes of Groote Schuur is a Facebook page dedicated to highlighting the amazing people who work or visit the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
The page highlights all the incredible work being done by the staff who keep everything running smoothly. Heroes featured on the page often have the most interesting jobs.
Celebrating the new year, the team highlighted Sister Melony Williams, who is the operational manager in the GSH Maternity Ward. She has been at the hospital welcoming new life, for the past 23 years! This is her inspiring story:
“It’s been 23 years since I started working with the babies at Groote Schuur. My job centres around admin now, but I love working with the babies, and I love watching the moms’ faces light up when they see their babies.
Just two days ago, a mom’s little baby was under the lights as it was being treated for jaundice. The mom was standing there looking at her baby and you could see the joy on her face. I said to her, ‘It’s a nice feeling, isn’t it?’ And she replied, ‘It’s the best.’
We push Kangaroo Care – that’s when we encourage the moms or dads to keep their babies on their chest. We explain to the parents why Kangaroo Care is so important – being kept on a parent’s chest encourages the baby to breath, it helps create a bond and helps with the production of breast milk. We explain to the moms that when the baby is on her chest, and she looks down, then there’s a message that is sent to her brain: “I must produce milk, I must produce milk”. They’re not getting that if they’re in the incubator the whole time.
The dads are often scared to handle their babies because they can be so small and fragile. Recently I had two dads here. I explained to them, ‘Your baby is small, but when you pick him or her up, baby can sense you, and gets used to your smile. And when you’re at home, then you’ll be comfortable to help your wife with the baby.’ I showed them how to open the incubator, take baby out, and move the wires of the monitors. And they really appreciated that, and after that they would open the incubator, and sit with their babies. It was beautiful.
We have a clinic when the babies come back for check ups. Some of those babies will have spent up to three months here when they were first born, so it’s really wonderful to see the moms and babies returning. Moms will say, ‘Sister, look, look how big my baby is.’ And most of the babies will still be on breast milk, which is so nice.” – Sr Melony Williams, operational manager, GSH Maternity Ward