Two year old Jazmin Ukoh from Plumstead is one of the little patients who know the paediatric ward staff’s voices and footsteps before they are even close. After months of recurrent chest infections, pneumonia and TB, an opportunistic germ infected her eyes, resulting in blindness. Being unable to see has delayed her muscle development and fine motor skills but her mother has found hope with the specialist doctors of Victoria and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s hospitals.
Jazmin has practically been raised by the doctors and nurses because of the long periods that she has needed hospitalisation in her short life and the unfortunate situation where her mother was not always able to stay overnight due to personal circumstances but also the lack of facilities for parents and caregivers to be accommodated in the ward.
Jazmin was the first of Victoria Hospital’s paediatric patients to have a feeding peg inserted into her abdomen after suffering severe reflux – through this peg, her milk feed and medication is directly inserted into her stomach. This procedure took place at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital where patients under the age of two who require intricate surgeries and ICU care are transferred to and then return to Victoria Hospital for ward-care.
Jazmin and her parents have been on a long and emotional journey and even had a frightening experience three weeks ago when Jazmin stopped breathing – every parent’s worst fear. After all they have endured, Juanita is optimistic about Jazmin’s life ahead as she will soon be moved to a facility that is able to cater for her special needs. Juanita says, “Jazmin has become more interactive and is starting to talk. She will start intense physiotherapy and occupational therapy when she is transferred from here and I’m excited for her to take her first steps.”
Mandy Ackerman of the Ackerman Family Trust visits the young patients at Victoria Hospital frequently and Jazmin has a special place in her heart according to the nursing staff. If you would like to donate to this fundraising initiative, please contact the Children’s Hospital Trust on 021 686 7860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.