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South Waikato’s new birthing unit is open and it’s full of aroha

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The aroha was palpable at the opening of the newly refurbished South Waikato Primary Birthing Unit on 17 June at Tokoroa Hospital.

Hundreds of people gathered from all over the Waikato District to celebrate this beautiful space that was officially blessed by Raukawa’s Kaunihera Kaumātua chairperson Nā John-Thomas (Hori) Deane with presentations by Raukawa’s general manager Maria Te Kanawa and South Waikato’s Mayor Jenny Shattock, who also completed the official ribbon ‘untie’ alongside the midwives. Local MP Louise Upston was also there in support.

Proud of her community and effort invested into the new birthing unit that has transformed an old theatre block at Tokoroa Hospital where Mayor Shattock used to work over 40 years ago, saying: "It’s absolutely fantastic to see it’s still in use".

Thanking Waikato DHB for its continued support the Mayor gave special mention to the director of Southern Community and Rural Health Services Jill Dibble who’s been the primary driver behind the South Waikato Primary Birthing Unit.

"The old unit absolutely served its purpose, it gave a wonderful service, but we’re very excited to be opening this facility to mark a new phase for our mums and midwives," said the Mayor.

In 2018, there were 60 births in Tokoroa and during a time of population growth there is potential for up to an estimated 200 births to happen locally for the South Waikato area says Jill Dibble.

More about the South Waikato Primary Birthing Unit

The space was co-designed with midwives and the community, including Pasifika and Māori to ensure mums and whānau have a safe and happy experience as they welcome their new babies into the world. And it’s fair to say the space will deliver this and more.

On entry you are instantly captivated by the thoughtful décor found from the soft colouring on the walls complemented by stunning artwork to comfortable bedding and bassinet fittings. It’s hard not to note every detail where one room has fresh orchards, another space italicises aroha on the wall, while another displays ‘Whānau - where life begins and aroha never ends’.

The unit has a birthing pool and post birth whānau space. It has two delivery rooms, three post birthing rooms and one antenatal room.

"It’s a far cry from our old unit," says Jill Dibble, Waikato DHB’s director of Southern Community and Rural Health who’s been focussed on improving community-based maternity services in this area for the past three years.

"With up to six lead maternity carers (LMCs) working out of the new birthing unit and a further twelve midwives supporting staffing of the unit it was really important to include their views in the design to make it a sustainable and pleasant place for them, their women and whānau," says Jill.

"There are so many people to thank but a special mention must go out to our partnership with local health providers and partners Raukawa and South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services for their support," she states.

South Waikato Primary Birthing Unit contact details:

Tokoroa Hospital

Gate 1, 55-75 Maraetai Road

Tokoroa 3420

You can contact the unit via your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) midwife or the Tokoroa Hospital switchboard: 07 885 0600

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