The price of ignorance – A blog about the need for training in perinatal palliative care by Busi Nkosi

I still think about Millicent.

In 1982 I completed my midwifery training and early in 1983 I was working in a South African clinic’s midwifery department as a qualified midwife. We used to rotate in all the three units i.e. ante-natal care, labour ward and post-natal care. One had an opportunity of following a patient right from ante-natal, through the labour ward to post-natal care, which was fantastic.

Meeting Millicent
Our ante-natal clinic was very exciting. The sessions started with a health talk, followed by singing and dancing as a way of exercise, then individual physical examinations of pregnant ladies in the different cubicles by midwives. Those mothers who were extroverts and could sing and dance would take to the stage and lead the rest during exercises. Millicent was one such mother. She carried her pregnancy beyond 40 weeks which necessitated a referral to the hospital for close monitoring and safe delivery in case complications arose during labour.

After finishing my term at the ante-natal clinic I was allocated to the post-natal unit and doing home visits for seven days after the child was born. It was here where I met the challenge that would linger in my mind to this day. Unfortunately, until I was introduced to palliative care, I could not talk about it because I thought there was no solution

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