Its Rachel here, I am one of the sixth formers who went to Durban today to visit the maternity hospital and the surrounding community. Our day started with a 5:00am start and we traveled by plane flown kindly by a pilot from Mercy Air (thank you Paul). I was able to experience the beautiful scenery due to only flying at 1000ft. I was privileged to be able to see this.
After we arrived at 9:30, we went to St Mary's Hospital to give out some of the packs knitted by some of the supporters of the Baby Bear Project. The majority of the women we gave the packs too would not have had anything to dress their babies in and the mums were clearly thrilled by their packs. The fact the women, unless they have complications, have to leave within 6-8 hours after giving birth stunned me. Unlike in England, the length of a mothers stay in hospital is not relative to their situation and this makes me wonder what they are going home to. We were told some women go home in taxis, which are minibuses crammed full of people, and this can't be good for the babies as they are highly susceptible to disease.
I have gained a lot from today as I have seen a part of African society which is different from earlier this week. I have also come to appreciate the support the health service in England provides and although we may complain about the NHS, it is a very valuble asset.