The Bettercare series is endorsed and used by a wide variety of organisations, as well as private individuals and professionals.

Endorsements for the Bettercare series

Bettercare books are endorsed by Life HealthcarePaediatric Aids Treatment for Africa (PATA), the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, the Perinatal Education Trust, and the University of Pretoria.


life-healthcare-logoPATA DTHF

PEP logo University of Pretoria

Universities and colleges that prescribe Bettercare books

  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Limpopo – Medunsa campus
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Wits Health Consortium – CRH Syndicate
  • North-West University
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • Western Cape College of Nursing
  • SG Lourens Nursing College
  • Life Healthcare College of Learning
  • Mediclinic

And more.

Hospitals that use Bettercare books to improve patient care

  • Universitas Hospital
  • Pietermaritzburg Metropoliton Hospitals Complex
  • Mowbray Maternity Hospital
  • Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli Regional Hospital
  • Metsimaholo Hospital
  • Manapo Hospital
  • Dr. J. S. Moroka Hospital
  • Bongani Hospital
  • Boitumelo Regional Hospital
  • Tonga Hospital
  • Thusanong District Hospital

And many more.

Organisations that use Bettercare

  • Paediatric AIDS Treatment for Africa (PATA)
  • Kidz Positive
  • Homes for Kids in South Africa (HOKISA)
  • Southern African Inherited Disorders Association (SAIDA)
  • Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA (HPCA)
  • Fernandez Hospital Educational & Research Foundation, India
  • Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Tanzania (CCBRT), Tanzania

And many more.

Bettercare champions

Bettercare champions are outstanding individuals committed to furthering the education of health professionals in South Africa and beyond.

Lloyd Kaseke

Lloyd KasekeLloyd Kaseke is Clinical Advisor at Life Healthcare. He writes:

A colleague introduced me to PEP in 1993 while I working as a medical officer in a rural hospital in Limpopo.

Though I never formally assessed the impact PEP had on our outcomes at the hospital, I noticed three specific changes: there was an increase in rapport between myself and the maternity unit staff; patients in the maternity ward were properly handed over to the next shift and staff better understood what needed to be done to ensure the best possible outcomes; and the quality of clinical information conveyed over the phone now allowed me to make clinical decisions faster, saving time especially when urgent intervention was required. The manual was written in easy language and I found the self-assessment pages at the end of each section were an excellent gauge of progress made. I would later use the same questions to test if my team had been listening during the bedside tutorials in the antenatal clinic and in the maternity ward.

Going through the PEP manuals myself helped me pass the College of Medicine’s Diploma in Obstetrics examination and increased my confidence to do more and share what I knew with the teams I worked with.

More recently in my current management position at Life Healthcare, we had 252 maternity nurses completing PEP in 2012 and aim to have 300 complete PEP in 2013. We are determined that by the end of 2014, every one of our maternity nurses must have completed the Maternal Care and Newborn Care courses. We believe this is the least we can do to help South Africa achieve its Millenium Development Goals with respect to maternal and perinatal mortality.

Ruth Davidge

Ruth DavidgeRuth is a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife, certified Neonatal Intensive Care. She is the founding President of the Neonatal Nurses Association of South Africa (NNASA), Director-at-Large of the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN), and Neonatal Co-ordinator for Western Kwazulu-Natal. She says about the PEP range of Bettercare books:

Around the world 40% of the children that die before they are 5 years old die in the first month of life-the neonatal period. It is the most vulnerable period of one’s life and one when brain growth and development is most active. It is critical that the health care workers caring for these precious babies have the knowledge, skills and resources they need in order to deliver top quality and holistic health care and to improve the health outcomes for this vulnerable population. Currently in South Africa no stand-alone neonatal nurse training is offered or recognised. There are less than 100 neonatologists in the whole country. The PEP course offers basic, simple to use, self-study educational resources primarily in maternal and neonatal care that can be used at any level. It has been used by thousands of health care workers in South Africa and beyond to improve their knowledge and skills. In the last couple of years I have incorporated it into our basic neonatal training course in Kwazulu-Natal with good effect. Doctors and nurses train together and even a nursing assistant achieved 92% on the final exam!

Eckhart Buchmann

Eckhart qualified as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist in 1993. He has worked at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital ever since and was appointed Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2005 until 2012. The hospital is the busiest maternity centre in South Africa and is the direct referral hospital for seven midwife obstetrics units (MOUs). In 2012 Eckhart was appointed District Clinical Obstetrician for Johannesburg. He says of the PEP range of Bettercare books:

I was introduced to PEP by Professor Bob Pattinson in 1993 and from then up to 2002 I trained over 250 midwives from Chris Hani Baragwanath and the MOUs in PEP maternal care and PEP HIV/AIDS. Administrative commitments in the hospital did not allow me to continue with this commitment. …This year I have taken up the District Clinical Obstetrician post for Johannesburg and will be starting PEP maternal care training again at MOUs and district hospitals. Hillbrow MOU in central Johannesburg has enrolled 18 midwives for the Maternal Care course, which started in November 2012.

Vanessa Booysen

Vanessa Booysen (Photo by Nick Mulgrew)

I have made the PEP course a compulsory self-study programme that has to be done by all healthcare workers working with mothers and babies in the Free State… Manapo Hospital in QwaQwa is a success story where we successfully reduced the neonatal mortality rate by 66% in only three months.—Vanessa Booysen

Vanessa is currently the only Provincial Neonatal Nursing Specialist in South Africa. She is part of the Maternal, Child and Women’s Health Unit (MCWH Unit), which started as a task team in 2011 to investigate the concerning high neonatal mortality and morbidity rates in the Free State (the highest in the country).

Her responsibilities include overseeing, monitoring and evaluating regional and district hospitals, CHCs and clinics in the Free State, including implementing mother and baby friendly care initiatives such as Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) and exclusive breastfeeding programmes, implementing training programmes, developing and implementing guidelines and protocols, procuring and monitoring equipment, and overseeing staff qualifications and competencies.

She is the Provincial Universal Hearing Screening Co-ordinator, Provincial Co-ordinator for Retinopathy of Prematurity Screening, and the Provincial PEP Course Co-ordinator. She is also a lecturer at the University of the Free State in both undergraduate and postgraduate Nursing, Medical and Allied Health Sciences.

Miriam Adhikari

Miriam AdhikariMiriam was the Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Kwazulu-Natal. She is a specialist neonatologist. She has been a guest editor and reviewer for a number of seminars and national and international journals, has published 14 articles in the past two years and two chapters in books, and presented at four conferences. She has supervised four PhD students and six Masters students.

Her teaching experience has involved developing the undergraduate curricula for the Paediatric component of the MB ChB programme, training undergraduate and postgraduate medical students in general paediatrics, and neonatal and paediatric nephrology training for sub-specialists.

She has developed training courses for midwives and advanced midwives for the past 20 years, also using the PEP material for Advanced Paediatric Nursing training. She participated in the development of the Neonatal Outreach Programme, accepted by the Department of Health for NICUs in specific areas.

After retiring in 2010, Miriam has continued to facilitate post-graduate students, assist with undergraduate paediatric training, review journal articles, and participate in service, teaching and research. She is also developing a Feeding and Weaning Clinic at the Durban Westville Campus.

[The Neonatal Outreach Programme] was finally accepted by the Department of Health and is being conducted for the NICU at IALCH by consultant staff trained for this specific purpose… The PEP programme was suggested for neonatal and maternal care.—Miriam Adhikari

Peggy Kannagi Naicker

We have used the PEP/EBW courses for both our midwives and neonatal nurses and they have been highly beneficial in helping them update their knowledge and skills.  We have a CPD programme and the completion of these courses are a requirement for these nurses CPD.—Peggy Naicker

Peggy completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Nursing) degree at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in 1989. She followed that with a Diploma in Intensive Nursing Science at the Natal College of Nursing in 1995 and an Advanced Diploma in Nursing Education at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 1999. She is currently enrolled for an M Cur degree at Unisa.

Peggy has 15 years of critical care nursing experience. She was involved in opening the Heart Centre at Life Westville hospital in 1998 and become the Unit Manager of the Coronary Care Unit in the same year. Between 1997 and 1999, she coordinated two international drug trials with a cardiologist.

Internationally, she worked in the USA in 1991 as a general nurse for a year and returned from 2003 to 2006 as a critical care nurse. She completed CCRN certification in 2005 so that she could practise as a senior critical care nurse. From 1999 to 2001, she worked in the United Arab Emirates as a senior staff nurse and team leader in the general ICU.

Peggy has numerous achievements in nursing education. She started as a nurse educator at Life Healthcare in 2007 in Cape Town. In 2008 she was appointed Learning Centre Manager at the Cape Town Learning Centre. In 2010 she transferred to the larger learning centre in Kwazulu-Natal, also as a Learning Centre Manager. In 2011, she was appointed Nursing Education Specialist, a position she still holds.

In 2010, Peggy received the National Education Award at Life Healthcare. She joined the Nursing Education Association (NEA) in 2010 and has since run curriculum development and teaching innovation workshops nationally on behalf of the NEA. She received the ICU nurse award at Life Chatsmed Garden Hospital in 1995.