Ntombizanele was born prematurely in Port Elizabeth on 16 October 2012 after developing in her mother’s abdominal cavity, rather than in the womb. The pressure of her mother’s organs on her tiny body resulted in her being born with some defects such as missing digits on her hands and feet. However, the most life-threatening was not being able to breathe unassisted due to the pressure on her nose, blocking her airway.
She was transferred to the Breatheasy Programme based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and had a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure to place a breathing device in a small incision in the throat. The Breatheasy Programme provides training to mothers of tracheostomy patients, so that they may be equipped to care for their child and the device.
Ntombizanele was just over 2kgs when she travelled home to Grahamstown but fortunately her mother has the knowledge, skills and equipment to care for her until the tracheostomy is removed.
The Trust has fundraised for a wide range of tracheostomy and home ventilation-related equipment. This will cater for inpatient and ambulatory care of children with respiratory disorders who require a tracheostomy and/or long-term ventilation homecare. Ntombizanele has benefitted immensely from this Programme and will hopefully outgrow the need for her breathing device.