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Meet Umanam

Little Umanam has been in and out of hospitals since the day she was born. This nine-month-old little girl is from Tulbagh in the Western Cape and has had a trying medical journey so far. Umanam was born in East London and sadly was taken straight to a paediatric ICU for treatment, as she struggled to breathe from her first moments of life.

At first doctors could not figure out what was wrong with Umanam, but it was later discovered that she has a congenital heart disease, resulting in two holes in her heart. As a result, she has had serious trouble breathing, something that most people do not even have to think about.

According to Monica, Umanam’s mother, the journey so far has been very difficult, as she has had to spend so much time in Hospitals since her child was a newborn. “We have been to so, so many hospitals, in and out of hospitals in all of the different towns,” explains Monica.

After a few months Monica was able to take her precious little girl home, as her health was improving and she was taking the right medication. Monica says that it was lovely having Umanam home with her siblings, but sadly this did not last very long. “I noticed one day that she was not breathing well and the Hospital in Worcester referred us to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.”

Umanam and Monica have been in the paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Hospital for two weeks and Monica has not left her little girl’s side since then. Umanam underwent cardiac surgery on Monday, 16 May, and is still in the ICU where she is on a ventilator and receiving 24-hour care from all the nurses and doctors.

According to Monica, the surgery went well and she is feeling very hopeful. “We are very far from home and do not get many visitors, but the nurses and doctors in the Red Cross ICU are very good and they are taking good care of us – I am very happy,” says Monica.

Monica is also very impressed with the new ICU upgrade and expansion. She says that even though she knows that her daughter is already getting the best care, it will be even better once the new ICU at the Hospital opens.

There are many little children like Umanam who currently require special care in the paediatric intensive care unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. Help give childhood back by sending an *SMS to 40465 to donate R20 to building a bigger and better ICU. Visit

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