Thami’s Story

In South Africa we are faced with a unique opportunity in our healthcare system. In the private sector we have access to first world medicine and in the public sector, not so much. The expertise is available to the private sector, but a lack of resources often present challenges. We say it presents a unique opportunity as we need to investigate the collaboration between private and public healthcare providers.

Thami tells us the story of her little one. This story highlights the additional pressures that parents of children with congenital heart defects face.

My baby was 3 days old and really struggling with coughing, so I took her to the clinic. A sister was not happy with her breathing and sent us to hospital. There they did tests and found that she has only one ventricle. We were admitted.

We stayed in hospital for 2 months waiting for an operation. I was so scared, because I thought my baby was going to die. My mother did not even want to visit her, as she was too sad that she was so ill. While we were in

While we were in hospital, we met another baby who has a single ventricle and has just had his second operation. His mother told us his story and that gave us some hope. My mother was finally brave enough to come and visit her granddaughter.

The operation was not done as my baby got sick all the time, even in hospital. We were discharged eventually and attend the cardiac clinic. She is now 7 months old and has been back in hospital 3 times with chest infections. The doctor says they will operate this year, but we don’t have a date yet and she is mostly sick. I have had to take a lot of time off work to be able to stay in hospital with my baby, as she can’t be left alone there. The mothers are the ones who wash and feed the babies as there is not enough staff.

I am not sure what will happen to my baby. I only know that I love her very much and will do whatever I have to to help her.

You can help us reach mommies like Thami, to offer them the same hope and support that she received from a mom in our network. we reach moms through literature and hospital visits. To get involved in this, please email:

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