Around 9 000 babies are born to Bonitas Medical Fund members annually and while most of these little members are welcomed into the world without any hitches, about 20% of pregnant moms experience complications during childbirth. Many experience challenges of some kind during their pregnancy, or immediately after the birth of their child. For this reason, the Fund is making maternity education and support a focus for 2020. The aim is to offer pregnant members all the support and guidance they need to improve their health and that of their baby. It is about making the pre- and post- birth period as stress-free and healthy as possible.
The current maternity benefits cover:
- Antenatal consultations
- 2D ultrasounds scans
- Postnatal consultations
- Antenatal classes with a midwife
- A baby bag
The above is supported by a range of benefits for babies and toddlers, including new-born hearing screening, congenital hypothyroidism screening, childhood immunisations, GP and paediatric specialist consultations.
From 2020 the maternity benefit will allow one of the post-natal consultations to be used for a consultation with a lactation specialist. Moms will also be able to access vouchers for baby products and further discounts a Baby City from the voucher platform.
Bonitas is also in the process of establishing a comprehensive mother and baby support programme which will offer pregnant moms a range of benefits including:
- 24/7 pregnancy care helpline
- Dedicated Bonitas care advisors
- Pregnancy education SMSs and emails
- Online pregnancy education
- Bonitas pregnancy events with expert speakers on prenatal and postnatal care
The full programme will be available from March 2020 and will ensure there is sufficient support for moms throughout the pregnancy journey. Education and information will be provided to allow for healthier pregnancies which in turn could support higher incidences of natural birth. But there will also be management and support for pregnancy complications including miscarriage and gestational diabetes.
‘As a father I know that parenting is a joy but it can be overwhelming and very daunting – especially for a first time parents,’ says Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas ‘which is why we are adding to the support and education of new moms and dads. But it doesn’t stop after you’ve had the baby because besides the 24/7 pregnancy care helpline we still run Baby line which we introduced three years ago.’
Baby line was the first dedicated toddler’s health advice line, which has proved to be very popular with helping parents look after the health of their toddler up to the age of three.
Baby line is a 24-hour children’s health advice line manned by paediatric trained, registered nurses. The service was developed in conjunction with the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Pretoria and is based on a concept used by the top providers of child health advice in the USA.
Bonita’s parents or caregivers, simply call the Baby line number on 0860 999 121 to reach a paediatric trained nurse. Through a series of questions asked regarding the health issue, parents will be provided with professional advice on what to do next. Depending on the symptoms, the advice might be to head straight to the ER or to see a doctor or specialist. The nurse will advise which healthcare provider is the most appropriate, given the health issue.
The services offered by the Baby line include:
• Home care advice
• Clinic/primary care/GP referral for the same day
• Clinic/primary care/GP referral for the following day
• After-hours care within the next six hours
• Immediate referral to the ER
The Baby line service is available to members across all the Bonita’s plans, for children under 3 years.
‘The health of our Bonita’s families is important to us and it starts right from mom’s pregnancy through to toddler and beyond. We want our members to live their best and healthiest life,’ concluded Callakoppen.