[trx_title color=”#00539e” top=”tiny-“]Meet Nokwandisa Sithonga[/trx_title]

Nokwandisa Sithonga, Mentor Mother:

When you think about being a Mentor Mother – what is the one word that describes how you feel about it?

I feel blessed and chosen to be a helper of my community and support women and their children.

What is the most important piece of equipment you carry with you in your backpack?

The most important tool I carry in my backpack is the scale, it helps me to do growth monitoring of my UWFA children.

What is the most important thing you have learned as a Mentor Mother?

The most important thing I have learned as a Mentor Mother is confidentiality, one of the particularly important qualities that make a good Mentor Mother.

What is your proudest moment as a Mentor Mother?

The proudest moment I had as a Mentor Mother is when I saw my HIV positive client give birth to an HIV negative baby, breastfeed for 6 months and all PCR tests came back negative.

What has surprised you about being a Mentor Mother?

When I started working as a Mentor Mother, I was so surprised to know that I am able to help women with problems that I once experienced in my life.

What is the biggest change you have seen in your community since becoming a Mentor Mother?

In my community I have seen a big change, the number of mothers and children who die have decreased, malnourished children are now growing healthy and pregnant women are delivering with no complications.

What do you enjoy speaking to your clients about and why?

I enjoy speaking about Breastfeeding mostly because breastfeeding can protect a mother against many diseases. The bond between the mother and a breastfed baby is just beautiful and that is what they both need. Living in this community with no running clean water, breastfeeding is always the option to avoid infections, also breastmilk is always available.

What do you do when a client isn’t following your advice?

From time to time I would speak to the client then involve my Supervisor to assist.

If you could ask for one thing that would assist you in your job during the COVID pandemic, what would it be?

If there is anything that I would ask during this pandemic will be enough PPE in the health facilities and COVID-19 testing kits across our nation.

What is the biggest impact COVID has had in your community thus far?

People are fearing for their lives as they see people dying every day. Children are not going to school due to lockdown; school nutrition programme is no longer feeding some families which relied on the meal.

How has COVID-19 made your job harder?

The pandemic has made my work hard because some the work has to be done remotely, I cannot visit all my clients because some experience minor illness/ symptoms.

How many mothers and children do you look after in a year?

I see around 40 mothers and 40 children in a year.