Last Friday a competition was held at the Masikhane Clinic in Aberdeen for babies up to the age of two. This was not like the usual baby competitions were the child is judged on its looks and clothing, but rather on its health and the mother’s compliance with clinic visits and immunisations.
Staff at the clinic went to a lot of trouble to arrange the competition, inviting mothers with young babies to participate as an encouragement. The main purpose of the event was to promote breastfeeding and family planning amongst the mothers, and the wellbeing of both mothers and babies.
Sr Yolande Lewies, operational manager for Masikhane Clinic, opened the proceedings and welcomed the guests.. MC Christiaan Africa, a member of the Clinic Committee, was one of the few men present, but this did not deter him from doing a wonderful job! One wall of the waiting room was beautifully decorated with a wheel, in a suitable theme, by local decorator Rose Africa, and an array of eats was sponsored by Tuin Kaffee.
Sr Nobantu Jack, acting local sub-district manager, was the guest speaker, and she explained the many benefits of breastfeeding to the young mothers. Bottle feeding os actively discouraged, and for hygiene reasons, it was recommended that mothers should use either a cup or teaspoon if they need to feed their babies any other liquids.
There were 46 entrants in the competition, which was divided up into three age groups. Much of the assessment had actually taken place at regular clinic visits, and the mothers had to provide both the baby’s clinic card and their own family planning card. To be eligible for any prize, the mother had to be breastfeeding her baby, and be using a contraceptive. Judges checked that the baby’s immunisations were up to date, and that they had been for the stipulated regular clinic check-ups. The state of the baby’s skin was also examined, and their general wellbeing.
Enzo Jantjies was the winner in the 7 to 12 month age group, and Priscilla Miyana came top in the category 13 to 24 months. First, second and third prizes were awarded for each age group, as well as two special prizes. These were donated by local businesses, and consisted of “goody bags” of baby goods. Jan-Hendrik Jordaan, from the main sponsor Tuin Kaffee, presented the prizes.
Although the start of the competition was delayed, and many of the mothers and babies ended up waiting for several hours, the vast majority of the babies were calm and quiet, much to the relief of all concerned! The mothers and guests enjoyed the snacks, and the time spent together.