2024 symposium speakers

Dr Maurine Rofhiwe Musie

Topic 1: A Scoping Review Integrating Technology-Enhanced Continuing Professional Development Programs For Midwives: Optimising Management Of Obstetric Emergencies And Complications

Topic 2: Framework for Collaboration between Midwives and Traditional Birth Attendants

Dr Maurine Rofhiwa Musie is an Advanced Midwifery specialist and lecturer at the University of Pretoria. She is recognised as the youngest PhD recipient in the Nursing Department from the University of Pretoria and the Youngest women scientist, Republic of South Africa and by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2023 endorsed by Minister of Higher education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande. Dr Musie has been a role model in the nursing profession and a recipient of several awards of excellence. She was the first African student to be awarded Cum Lauda in Bachelors of Nursing Sciences in 2015. She was also a recipient of the Emergent Research Excellence Award at the University of Pretoria in 2021. 

Maurine has published more than 8 scientific articles in accredited scientific journals and 1 book chapter, she has supervised 6 Masters students to completion in the field of Maternal and Child healthcare. She represents South Africa at the Nursing Now Global Challenge of the Burnett Trust of Nursing. Her research focuses on training midwives on obstetric emergencies, indigenous maternal health, respectful maternity care (RMC), prevention of mother-to-child transmission among marginalized communities, and introducing point-of-care midwifery education. 

Maurine is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and continues to pursue innovative approaches to manage obstetrical emergencies and complications through continuing professional development (CPD) for midwives. She is currently appointed as chairperson for Qualitative research and data analysis under the Research support hub, Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Pretoria. She is also part of the Executive board member of the Sigma Thetha Tau International (STTI) Society, Chi-Xi chapter. Currently attending the Sensitive Midwifery Academy.

Nonkululeko Shibula

Topic: Navigating Stillbirth: Supporting Families in Perinatal Loss – The Role of Healthcare Professionals

Nonkululeko Shibula is a qualified and compassionate professional with a diverse background. She is a certified doula and the founder of Umzanyana Birth Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing holistic childbirth education and more to families in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She has extensive knowledge of prenatal care and she is also a freelance writer and blogger for parenting magazines, labor, and postpartum care as a La Leche League-trained breastfeeding peer counselor. 

Nonkululeko also helps breastfeeding women achieve their goals and overcome any challenges they may face with breastfeeding. In addition to her expertise in childbirth education and breastfeeding support. Nonkululeko is a certified bereavement facilitator who provides compassionate care to families who have experienced the loss of a child. Having experienced the loss of her own angel baby, Nonkululeko understands first-hand the importance of providing a safe and supportive environment for families during this difficult time.

Prof Ana Norton

Topic: Benefits of Dummies and Choosing the Right Shape

Prof Ana Norton is a doctor specialising in paediatric dentistry and a Professor at the University of Minho in Portugal.

Prof Ana along with a team of engineers completed a study which used computer simulation (creating a detailed 3D model of the palate of a 6 month child) to show the oral facial structure and the effects of the use of different pacifiers. Prof Anna shares the results of this study and which characteristics need to be considered when choosing a pacifier.

Cozette Laubser

Topic: Physiological Birth, Brain Development and the Wellness of the Family Unit in the Long-Term

Cozette is a Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Programme Director for BabyGym Institute International. She studied Corporate Communications at the University of Johannesburg and earned her degree in 2008.

In 2007, while studying full-time, Cozette began working alongside Dr Melodie de Jager in her private practice in Linden. De Jager is the founder of the BabyGym Institute, a child development specialist, author, and researcher. Cozette’s passion for mothers and babies led her away from the corporate world and into the field of child development.

Sixteen years later, Cozette is the programme director of the BabyGym Institute and facilitates all Instructor training. The institute has 50 qualified and licensed BabyGym Instructors across South Africa and Namibia. Their focus is the developing nervous system, including infant brain development. They are passionately invested in educating adults on how pregnancy, birth, and the first three years offer an opportunity to start life strongly. Their adult education workshops are accredited by the HPCSA, SAPIK, and SACE.

Cozette’s doula journey began with Dr Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers at their Paramana Doula Course in Highgate, London in 2018. This proved to be a life-changing experience.

An insatiable interest in birth prompted Cozette to study Childbirth Education from Childbirth International, and she qualified to present antenatal classes in February 2019.

Cozette learned she was expecting her son, Ulrich, that same February. She gave birth to Ulrich at home in December 2019, and she gave birth to her second little boy, Jurgen, at home in March 2022.

Monja Boonzaier

Topic: Bridging the Gap: Empowering Midwives to Support Holistic Early Childhood Development

Monja Boonzaier is a fervent advocate for Early Childhood Development (ECD) in under-resourced communities. She envisions an innovative holistic educational program that celebrates the remarkable cultural diversity of South Africa. With 27 years of experience in dance, personal development, and movement education, Monja is an expert in Somatic Movement. She founded the Beautiful Mind Studio in Johannesburg, where she helps adults and children reduce chronic stress and pain through movement-based nervous system regulation. Monja’s work is guided by principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), trauma-informed approaches, and Somatic Movement practices.

Monja’s passion for ECD is further demonstrated by her role as Founder and Director of Hamba Bamba Funda (HBF), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality education to underprivileged young black South African children. HBF has evolved from grassroots community initiatives in 2018 to a recognized Section 18A non-profit organization, leaving a profound impact on the communities it serves. HBF’s accomplishments include hosting international seminars, establishing a mobile classroom in Dobsonville, Soweto, and forming eco-conscious partnerships.

Monja’s dedication to ECD has been recognized through numerous achievements, including:

  • Successful completion of a 7-month pilot project in Kliptown, Soweto, in 2021
  • Replication of the pilot project in 2022
  • Implementation of a series of ongoing initiatives
  • Registration as a Skills Development Provider acknowledged by ETDP SETA
  • Invitation to participate in a Chava Shelhav Child’ Space training segment with Barbara Leverone and Akiko Takao in Matsue, Japan (2023)
  • Receipt of the Most Client-Focused & Alternative & Holistic Health Service award in 2023

Monja Boonzaier is an inspiring leader and a passionate advocate for ECD. Her work is making a significant difference in the lives of underprivileged children in South Africa.

Dr Gauri Lowe

Topic: Honoring the Sacred Passage: Illuminating the Vital Role of Postpartum Care in Women’s Health

Dr Gauri Lowe is a dedicated medical doctor and renowned natural birth specialist with a passion for empowering women through a sacred approach to healthcare. With a profound commitment to honouring the wisdom of the female body, Dr Lowe teaches transformative courses on postpartum care and support, a Sacred Model of Birth and reframing women’s healthcare to embrace the sacred womb as a source of medicine.

Drawing from her extensive studies in botanical medicine under the esteemed Dr Aviva Romm, Dr Lowe brings a holistic perspective to her practice, emphasizing the importance of natural remedies and ancient healing traditions. Her journey as a birth support advocate spans over 12 years, providing unwavering assistance to home births, and nurturing a safe and empowering environment for women during childbirth.

Beyond her local community, Dr Lowe’s heart and expertise have touched the lives of women in rural India and South Africa. Currently residing in South Africa with her husband and two sons, she continues to inspire and share the truth about the sacred model of birth, fostering a world where women embrace their innate power and wisdom in her consulting rooms and supporting women during home births.

Dr Nils Bergman

Topic: Nurture-Science, Zero Separation and Breastfeeding

Dr. Nils Bergman holds expertise and interest in maternal and neonatal health care as a Public Health Physician. His qualifications include an MB ChB from the University of Cape Town (1980, equivalent to a US MD), a Diploma in Child Health in Developing Countries from Uppsala University (1987), a Master’s in Public Health (cum laude) from the University of Western Cape (1999), and a Doctor of Medicine in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Zimbabwe (1997, equivalent to a US PhD).

Dr. Nils’s work experience spans across Zimbabwe (Low-Income Country), South Africa (Middle-Income Country), and Sweden (High-Income Country), providing a valuable global perspective to their research. He played a key role in initiating the Immediate KMC Study and served as a Principal Investigator in the WHO Study Group that conducted and recently published the RCT’s results. Dr. Nils has also developed and published “nurturescience,” a scientific rationale explaining the unexpected findings of significantly reduced mortality in very low birth weight newborns receiving immediate and continuous skin-to-skin contact.

Princess Mhlanga-Motsoagae

Topic: A Young Midwife Finding Her Way through a Challenging Landscape

Princess Mhlanga-Motsoagae is a young Professional Nurse and Midwife who is ambitious and passionate about mother and child health. She is currently working at a fertility clinic and practices in a low-risk maternity unit where she can be present from preconception of babies to the birth and postnatal care of the mother and her newborn.

Princess is also part of a volunteer program, ‘Nurses with Purpose’ where she gives back to those from underprivileged communities and backgrounds. She took on the challenge of a small department of nursing in women’s health and fertility. This has made her understand the challenges in facilitating women to fall pregnant and provide support until the precious moment of carrying their newborn. She has had the pleasure of meeting amazing midwives who have pioneered the journey of her becoming a great fertility Nurse and Midwife. Furthermore, Princess is a new public health graduate and is currently pursuing her Masters in Nursing Sciences at the University of Pretoria. Princess’s favourite quote is “Visualise your highest self and show up for her!”

Janay Alexander-Gilchrist

Topic: Birth Language, Mind Laws and Why Antenatal Education is Vital for our Expectant Parents

Janay, a qualified clinical hypno-therapist, psychotherapist, hypnobirthing practitioner, and master NLP practitioner, wears many hats beyond her professional titles. As a mother, wife, daughter, and friend, her passion lies in empowering families to have a positive start in life.

Janay’s journey began in 2005 when she opened her hypno-therapy practice in the UK. Witnessing the struggles of women with postnatal depression sparked her curiosity to understand the root cause and, more importantly, potential preventative measures. Her research revealed a startling truth: all women experiencing post-natal depression had endured traumatic births.

This revelation ignited Janay’s mission to transform childbirth experiences for women. Her discovery of hypnobirthing provided a powerful toolkit to equip both mothers and their birth partners with effective preparation techniques. These simple yet impactful methods empowered expecting parents to approach childbirth with greater confidence and positivity, consequently reducing the risk of post-natal depression.

Birth is a transformative event. A smooth birthing experience lays the foundation for a more positive and enjoyable journey for parents once their baby arrives. The positive ripples extend far and wide, influencing mental health, relationships, and bonding with baby, family, and friends. Most importantly, a positive birth experience reclaims a woman’s innate power, bolstering her mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Raikane James Seretlo

Topic: Nurturing Inclusivity: Synthesizing Queer Patients in Maternity Care

Raikane Seretlo is a New Generations of Academics Programme (nGAP) Lecturer at the School of Public Health in the division of Social & Behavioural Science. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree. With a background in nursing, he has extensive experience in mother and child healthcare. He is equipped with the skills of Clinical Applications Specialist, research and teaching assistant. Seretlo’s research interests encompass eHealth, telemedicine, mHealth applications, innovation, technology, digital transformation, climate change, and sexual and reproductive healthcare services. He focuses on addressing the healthcare needs of key populations, including the LGBTIQ+ community, prisoners, sex workers, and survivors of gender-based violence and rape.

He co-supervises master’s students’ research, teaches, and facilitates Public Health Modules principles of public health education and health promotion theoretical foundations of public health education. He is involved in the Ubuntu model of nursing project and collaborated with the University of Pretoria as part of community engagement. In addition to the above, Mr. Seretlo is a reviewer in several local and international peer reviewed journals. Outside of academia, Seretlo has achieved numerous accolades, such as being recognized as the best student in enrolled nursing (both practical and theory), community nursing, and psychiatric nursing. He graduated cum laude with a nursing degree and has been honoured by the Golden Key International Honour Society. He has also been named one of the Mail and Guardian 200 young South Africans and was nominated as a Nurse Hero in 2023. Additionally, he received the CEO Innovative Nurse award in 2023.

Position: nGAP Lecturer in Social and Behavioural Sciences Unit

Qualification(s): ENA & EN, HEALTHNICON (2009); D4 in Nursing, LIMPOPO COLLEGE OF NURSING (2013); BCUR I ET A, UP (2018); MPH, SMU (2022); PhD (cand) SMU.

Jason Marcus

Topic: Not Just 4 P’s in Labour Progress

Jason is a specialist midwife and medical educationalist at UCT. He serves as senior lecturer for undergraduate education in his department. His roles include that of course convenor for the 4th year Obstetrics course and 3rd year Perinatal Health. He is the programme convenor for the Mandela-Castro medical training collaboration programme in the faculty. His other faculty roles include being a member of the student development and support committee, faculty examinations committee and faculty representative to the university’s timetabling and examinations committee.

Jason has a background in programme based maternal and newborn health interventions when he was a lecturer in the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). There he was the technical lead for the implementation of the ESMOE programme in South Africa, and similar programmes in Zimbabwe and Malawi. He provided technical assistance with these programmes in Nigeria and Kenya. His role in Liverpool also extended to being the director of studies (programme convenor in our setting) of the Masters in International Public Health (Reproductive Health). He also convened and taught courses in the Masters and Diploma in Reproductive Health  at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. 

Following his time with LSTM, he was lecturer with the department of O&G at the University of Pretoria and the MRC’s Maternal and Infant Health Care Strategies Unit. In this role was part of the team training health workers and conducting M&E of the ESMOE programme when it was further rolled out across South Africa.

As a technical consultant he has worked with the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh to develop the country’s first community midwifery training curriculum. 

He also provides ongoing faculty development in using simulation training in obstetric emergencies at the Paray School of Midwifery in Lesotho. 

Locally his role extends to the Greater Letaba District in Limpopo province where he serves as a technical consultant in the roll out of patient-centred and respectful maternity care (RMC) in the district’s maternity care services. He also facilitates training in RMC in the Metro West Maternal and Newborn service.

Kate Wade

Topic: Atomic Midwifery

Kate Wade calls herself ‘a Midwife of Africa’ and her primary professional identity transcends mere occupation; it’s a burning passion and resolute commitment. She tirelessly strives to propel the midwifery profession across the continent, firmly believing that midwifery-led care is the golden standard for women. This conviction has been the cornerstone of her extensive career.

Kate fiercely champions the need for empowered midwives. She believes deeply in nurturing and encouraging them to provide exceptional support to the women under their care. In fact, one of her key endeavors across all her roles is to serve as an unwavering “encourager of midwives.”

Her remarkable journey spans the entire spectrum of midwifery care. From offering personalized care and home births through independent practice to facility-based settings, she has also served women suffering from obstetric fistula, a consequence of traumatic, prolonged labor with limited access to adequate care. This diverse and expansive experience has imbued her with a profound understanding of the multifaceted and intricate nuances that define midwifery practice in Africa’s varied contexts.

This passion for excellence in midwifery care has ignited within her a contagious enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge. She cherishes opportunities to disseminate midwifery-related concepts, best practices, and innovative ideas.

Unwavering in her advocacy, ‘Midwife of Africa’ remains a vocal champion for midwifery-led care, readily supporting initiatives, organizations, and proposals that propel the midwifery profession forward in Africa.

Prof Chris Vorster

Topic: Newborn Screening: What is the role of the midwife?

Prof Chris Vorster‘s career began in private healthcare before transitioning to a distinguished academic role. From 2010 to 2023, they served as the Director of the Centre for Human Metabolomics (CHM) at North-West University. During this tenure, Prof Vorster spearheaded the National Metabolomics Platform, a DSI-funded initiative that significantly advanced metabolomics infrastructure and expertise in South Africa. In 2023, Prof Voster assumed the role of Programme Director at Nngwe, a groundbreaking initiative by DIPLOMICS (DIstributed PLatform in OMICS) focused on tackling the challenge of rare and undiagnosed rare diseases in South Africa.

Previously, at the National Metabolomics Platform, Prof Vorster oversaw diagnostic services and led national and international research projects. They remain actively engaged in pathology, analyzing laboratory reports and fostering cutting-edge research in inherited metabolic diseases, small molecule method development, and nanodiagnostics.

Zanele Cekiso

Topic: Vertical Transmission Prevention – New ART Clinical Guidelines

Zanele Cekiso, known affectionately as Nurse Zee, is a force for good in the healthcare sector. A registered nurse with SEAD Consulting, she serves as a Quality Assurance Coordinator for HIV rapid testing, ensuring accurate and efficient testing procedures. Her academic background is equally impressive, boasting a Diploma in Nursing Science from the Northwest College of Nursing and a Post Graduate Diploma in HIV Management from Stellenbosch University. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s in HIV Management, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to professional growth and advancement in the field.

But Nurse Zee’s impact extends far beyond her official title. For the past six years, she has leveraged the power of social media through her “Nurse Zee” brand, becoming a prominent advocate for health awareness and education. Recognizing the significant influence of her online voice, prestigious publications and organizations have bestowed upon her several awards, including:

  • 200 Young South Africans impactful leaders in the Health Sector 2022 (Mail&Guardian)
  • 100 Africa’s Brightest Young Minds 2022
  • Nurse Hero: Community builder of the Year 2023
  • Nurse Hero: Nurse Influencer of the year 2023
  • Sunday World publication; Unsung Hero 2023
  • Sunday World publication; Heroic Women 2023

Beyond her professional accolades, Nurse Zee cherishes her personal life as a daughter and mother to a beautiful five-year-old daughter. While her dedication to health advocacy is unwavering, she finds moments of leisure in reading books and enjoying Netflix.

Kirsten Nel

Topic: Pelvic Floor Health

A dedicated physiotherapist with a strong interest in women’s health, Kirsten Nel qualified from Wits University and initially worked in a general hospital setting. However, her passion soon pivoted towards women’s wellness and the unique role physiotherapy can play in it. Completing specialized qualifications in 2011, she has since honed her skills and knowledge, focusing her practice exclusively on assisting and treating women with pelvic health issues throughout all stages of life.

Recognizing the ever-evolving needs of the female body, Kirsten delves into various aspects of women’s health, from early adulthood to later years. Her commitment extends beyond individual consultations, leading online webinars for patients on pelvic health topics. Additionally, she curates an online shop, Her Women’s Wellness, offering products geared towards supporting women during pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

Passionate about both clinical care and patient empowerment, Kirsten recently began lecturing the Pregnancy and Postpartum module of a specialized training program, guiding fellow physiotherapists entering this field. Aiming to further expand her expertise, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree this year, focusing on the management of women’s health challenges during perimenopause and menopause. Her dedication extends beyond simply treating symptoms; she strives to inform and empower women, ultimately improving their quality of life and overall well-being.

Dr Thapelo Motshudi

Topic: POCUS Training For Midwives

Thapelo is the founder and Managing Director of two radiology practices based in Pretoria and Johannesburg. He previously managed a corporate wellness and occupational health company with two other medical doctors, amongst a few other business ventures.

He was Chairman of the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa (NNR) from 2016 until 2023, and was on the inaugural board of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). Thapelo is also the MD of Prosper Healthcare, which is a management consulting company that also provides training, quality management, policy and strategy formulation, and advisory services on drugs and medical devices regulation and nuclear medicine.

Amongst several other clients, Prosper has been consulting for NMG, a financial services company based in Johannesburg, for over a decade. Thapelo has a special interest in increasing quality access to healthcare, and for that reason he was an advisor to InsurAfrica, which aims to provide low-cost affordable healthcare across the African continent.

– FC Rad Diag (Colleges Of Medicine Of South Africa & The University Of The Witwatersrand)
– MB ChB (University of Pretoria)
– International Radiation Protection School (OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), Stockholm University, Sweden)
– Radiation Protection In Medical Applications (European Nuclear Safety Training & Tutoring Institute, Madrid, Spain)
– Decommissioning Of Nuclear Facilities (Argonne National Laboratory, Ontario, Canada)

Busisiwe Gambu

Topic: A Passion Blossomed: A Midwife’s Journey – Navigating from Public to Private Midwifery

Busisiwe Gambu is a dedicated mother and midwife currently serving at Midwives Exclusive, a private birthing center in Pretoria. Her passion for midwifery stemmed from a unique blend of personal inspiration and professional experience.

Her mother, a retired midwife, fueled her initial interest with captivating stories. This passion blossomed further during her undergraduate studies at the University of Johannesburg, where she obtained her BCur Nursing degree. Notably, she was awarded the prestigious Wendy Ackerman prize for Family Health: Midwifery, recognizing her exceptional talent in the field.

Busisiwe honed her skills and gained invaluable knowledge working in a busy labor ward of a district hospital in the west rand of Johannesburg. The dedication and expertise of the midwives there left a lasting impact on her practice. Seeking to deepen her understanding, she subsequently completed the Certified Sensitive Midwifery Course in 2021. This resonated deeply with her, offering a fresh perspective on midwifery care.

Driven by a keen interest in indigenous knowledge, particularly regarding pregnancy and birth practices, Busisiwe further enriched her expertise. Additionally, she served as a student accompanist for aspiring midwives at the University of Johannesburg for a year, offering guidance and support.

Ultimately, a desire for personalized care led Busisiwe to transition from the public sector to private practice. Now, with over a year of experience at Midwives Exclusive, she embraces a holistic and natural approach to supporting women throughout their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journeys. Her primary mission is to empower women as they embark on motherhood and create their families.

Joyce Mahuntsi

Topic: Launch of the New Guidelines for Maternity Care

Joyce Mahuntsi is an Advanced Midwife with over 25 years of clinical experience in Midwifery, Maternal and Neonatal care at public tertiary hospitals and MOUs. She is currently at the Ministry of Health, National Department of Health, South Africa, holding the portfolio of Deputy Director for Maternal and Neonatal Health. Her key focus areas are policy and guidelines development, program management, monitoring and evaluation of delivery of quality maternal and neonatal services for the country to improve the health services and outcomes of mothers and babies.

Following is her brag list: 

  • Diploma in Nursing Science majors: General, Midwifery, Community and Psychiatry 1989-199 – Baragwanath Nursing College 
  • Diploma in Advanced Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science – (Merit Award) in 2000-2001 – Baragwanath Nursing College  
  • B Cur I et A- 2007-2010 – University of Pretoria 
  • Master’s in Nursing: Clinical Fields, Merit Award (Distinctions) 2011-2013 – University of Pretoria

Dr Charlotte Langa

Topic: Update on CPD implementation

Employment: South African Nursing Council
Position: Manager- Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Previous Employment: Lecturer (Head of Nursing Education Institution) Limpopo College of Nursing
Committees Served: Adverse Committee, Maternal Mortality Committee, Quality Assurance, Performance Standards Committee and Extended Management Committee 

Academic Qualifications:
– Obtained BCur – 1998- University of Pretoria
– Masters (Nursing Education) – 2005- University of Pretoria
– Doctoral in Philosophy (PhD) in Quality Patient Care- National Core Standards- 2017- University of Limpopo
– Developed a model to ensure compliance with the national health core standard in public hospitals of Limpopo Province, South Africa

Special interests: Quality Patient Care, motivational speaker, counselling and supporting people, reading and writing, healthy living styles- exercising, prayer

Dr Howard Manyonga

Topic: PPH and Novel Vacuum Induced Hemorrhage Control

Dr Howard Manyonga is the founder of Network One Health (Pty) Ltd a health management company that establishes and operates Integrated Maternity Practices. These are multidisciplinary teams with a presence in the community and strong linkages to referral hospitals. Howard has extensive experience as an independent Ob-Gyn and has held senior management positions in the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. From 2016 to Feb 2021, he ran a large-scale demonstration of team-based maternity care in the cash market that grew to four sites across the country before he left the role in early 2021 to establish Network One Health. He believes value-based care, built of collaborative relationships that transcend geographic location and disciplinary boundaries, are key in achieving universal access to maternity care.

Dr Margreet Barnardt

Topic: Empowered through Knowledge

Dr Margreet Barnardt is a Midwife Specialist and the General Manager of Sister Lilian Centre & Sensitive Midwifery. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Midwifery from the Artevelde Hogeschool in Gent, Belgium in 2002, and furthered her studies with a BCur Honours in Advanced Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science (2012) and a Master’s Research degree in Midwifery (2014), both from the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Margreet completed her PhD (2019) at the same university where she has also assisted as a student mentor and research associate for advanced midwife students. Her PhD looked at strategies to scale-up clinical midwifery practices in South Africa. She has published several articles and presented at various conferences, both nationally and internationally.  

Margreet’s first work experience as a new midwife was in the Netherlands, which is known for its strong midwifery-led model of care. After relocating to South Africa, she gained experience in both the public and private sector and became acutely aware of the many midwifery dynamics and challenges in South Africa. This moved her to start a specialised midwifery clinic in 2009 – the Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic (HMBC) in Jeffrey’s Bay – which is a non-profit organisation committed to delivering professional private care to the most vulnerable and underprivileged women. Margreet firmly believes that the clinic is a blueprint that can be replicated in other communities and is an answer to addressing maternal and neonatal morbidities and mortality. HMBC has served as a training centre for international students and several South African nurses and. While directing the clinic, Margreet also worked as an independent midwife, becoming well known as ‘The Surfing Midwife’. She has become an advocate for a better birthing culture in South Africa.

Through engaging with the founder and director of the Sister Lilian Centre, widely known as Sister Lilian, and its Sensitive Midwifery initiatives, she was identified as a worthy leadership successor for the company. Having undergone an extensive mentoring period with Sister Lilian, Margreet assumed the position of General Manager of the Sister Lilian Centre and Sensitive Midwifery in January 2019. This enables Margreet to continue working for all pregnant women, babies and families on a far greater scale, and to be a voice for and champion of the midwifery profession as a whole, on a national and international platform.