Help on the way for new Dora Nginza Hospital moms

Huge response to call for maternity sanitary towel donations

Sandy Zoetmulder, left, receives a donation of sanitary towels from Demoné Gouws on behalf of Fourie Fintax in front of Life St George’s Hospital on Saturday
WORKING TOGETHER: Sandy Zoetmulder, left, receives a donation of sanitary towels from Demoné Gouws on behalf of Fourie Fintax in front of Life St George’s Hospital on Saturday

If you are looking to buy maternity pads in Port Elizabeth right now, you probably will not find them after a clarion call to help new mothers at Dora Nginza Hospital was received, and answered, at the weekend.

Dora Nginza made the headlines last week when pictures surfaced on social media of expectant mothers lining the passages of the maternity ward, sleeping on the floors and chairs.

The images motivated Nelson Mandela Bay mother-of-two Sandy Zoetmulder to assist.  

In matter of two days, the overwhelming response to a Facebook request for sanitary towels, funding and other donations resulted in Zoetmulder stationing  herself outside St George’s Hospital on Saturday and Sunday afternoon to receive the donations.

She said having gone through birth twice also motivated her to join the call, and they had collected more than 2,000 products, with more expected to be donated  this week.

“I know that Dora mothers are in a difficult environment and these women truly deserve dignity, and to bring a baby into the world is traumatic.

“If we can help them with this one little bit of the beginning of motherhood, at least it can make a difference,” Zoetmulder said.

Zoetmulder, of ZBrands, said though she had not had any income during lockdown as her business could only operate on level one,  and subsequently had no money to contribute financially, she  opted to donate her time and network instead.

“I could help through my network and through my business contacts and so I offered my services to pick up products, deliver them and also received funds from a few people who know me from Facebook to buy some more pads.

“I just could not find any more,” she joked.

“I guess that speaks to the magnitude and the extremely positive response to this.”

By Saturday afternoon, Zoetmulder had already filled a Hyundai minibus to the brim and said she was hoping to do the same several times throughout the weekend.

Zoetmulder said she and more women would be looking at helping out again, should there be a need.

“More women have contacted me saying that they want to help.

“We are all moms, we have all needed these items and it’s the least that we can do,” she said.

“We are treading on a bit of government territory, but we do not know about the politics of hospitals except that the government is letting our people down.

“So if there is a call again, I will definitely support it.”

Among those who braved the weekend wind was Lorraine resident Lesley van Heerden, who said seeing the plight of the pregnant woman motivated her to donate.

“Giving birth is already one of the hardest and most stressful things a woman can go through.

“So not knowing where you will get sanitary towels after everything you have been through shouldn’t be a concern for these women.

“Hence we are here today just trying to ease the anxiety some of them must be experiencing,” she said.