“Christmas has come early for us,” said Sister Lynda Smith of the Retreat Midwife Obstetrics Unit (Mou) in Cafda Village.Muslim Hands, the international aid agency with its South African base in Rylands Estate, donated several essential items to the maternity unit at the Retreat Community Health Centre and Day Hospital, on Wednesday 2 October.Sheikh Haashim Peck, programme manager from Muslim Hands, was the master of ceremonies at the handover ceremony and explained why this centre was the recipient. “Muslim Hands selected this hospital at this location because we saw the need to enhance a certain part of the hospital, and that is the maternity unit.“The items will help enhance the maternity unit and make work easier for the very special group of people, our sisters and nurses and facility managers at the hospital,” he said.Among the items donated were three digital baby scales, two reclining chairs for the post-natal ward where mothers can nurse their babies after birth, 15 wheelchairs, 20 pillows and 40 pillow protectors, which will save costs at the maternity unit by allowing them to reuse pillows.“It’s normal for the patient to bleed and it soils the linen, and no one wants to lie on the soiled linen. So, we have to throw them away each time,” Smith explained.The donation also included items to improve the working environment for staff. These items are a new stove, two microwaves – one for staff and one for patients – and chairs for the sisters and nurses to complete documentation and paperwork.“The maternity ward at Retreat hospital deserved all this. One of the reasons is that it’s much needed here, because this is a place that’s been neglected a little bit,” said Peck.The centre manager, Susan Meyer, was thankful for the donations which will serve a large number of people from various communities. “The people who will really benefit from this is our community and the patients that come here. We also serve Lotus River and Grassy Park and Lady Michaelis (Day Hospital); they all come here and give birth here.”Ward councillors Marita Petersen and Shanen Rossouw, who have both birthed children there, attended the handover and thanked Muslim Hands on behalf of the City of Cape Town. Rossouw made special mention of the challenges faced by people in the south: “Our people sometimes don’t have the funds or the transport to come for their medication.” But she commended the maternity unit for their tireless efforts to serve the community and expressed her confidence that the new items will help them serve even better.Meyer added: “So with our 24-hour service, which is the only 24-hour service in the southern parts, they will definitely benefit from this. We are so humbled and so grateful.” The overall value of the donation, which was garnered through Muslim Hands’ work with their international donors, was R79 000.