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About the Presenters

 Dr Welma Lubbe

Welma Lubbe

Dr Welma Lubbe is the founder and owner of Little Steps®.   She is a registered nurse and advanced midwife by profession and holds qualifications in advanced midwifery and neonatal nursing science (PhD), general nursing, psychiatric nursing, community nursing and nursing education (cum laude).  Dr Lubbe completed various other professional and complimentary courses that supports her work in the field of newborn development, such as infant massage, CPR instructor, BabyGym, aromatherapy and reflexology, NBAS (Newborn behavioural assessment scale), sensory integration theory and play therapy (beginners level).  

Dr Lubbe currently holds a position as senior lecturer at the North-West University (Potchefstroom campus) at the School of Nursing Science, where she is part of the midwifery team, mainly responsible for training on infant modules and she is also involved with the Maternal-Child-Health-Nurse-Leadership Academy (MCHNLA) in collaboration with Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) and Johnson and Johnson corporate.  She was part of the initiation team for the human donor breast milk bank situated at the Potchefstroom hospital, she holds a Thuthuka grant for research in the field of newborn development and she is supervisor of a number of postgraduate students in nursing and other related disciplines.  Dr Lubbe often acts as advisor on preterm infant related issues, such as the launch of the preterm size 0 nappies.  Dr Lubbe has a strong focus on inter-disciplinary work and believes that the preterm infant and his/her family is a unique unit.  

Dr Lubbe is a member of various professional bodies and organisations.  She is registered with the South African Nursing Council as professional nurse and advanced midwife (amongst others), member of the Nursing education association, president of the South African Neonate, Infant and Toddler Support Association (SANITSA), as well as member of the special interest group on education for the Neonatal Nurses Association of South African (NNASA).  She serves on the international advisory board and as the section editor for the international section of the Journal of Neonatal Nursing.

Dr Lubbe often presents academic papers and write articles for both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed journals.  She also authored various parenting articles, is an invited guest on TV and radio shows and act as guest lecturer at various national and international universities.  She authored the book ‘Prematurity – adjusting your dream’, which is a valuable resource for both parents of preterm infants and professionals working in this field.    

Dr Lubbe developed the Little Steps® website as the first research-based website on prematurity for the South African context.  She also started workshops for parents with preterm infants while they were still admitted to the NICU, since they’ve missed the opportunity to prepare for the arrival of their infant(s) by attending ante-natal classes.  These workshops were expanded to training for healthcare professionals working in the field of preterm infants on the topic of neurodevelopmental supportive care and Dr Lubbe is currently involved with research in this field with the aim to impact policy and improve outcomes.


Annelie van der Westhuyzen

Annelie vd Westhuzen

Annelie van der Westhuyzen is a Speech- and Language Therapist and the co-owner of Little Steps® Prem Products. She has a special interest in working with feeding difficulties within the NICU and currently work on a consultation basis in private NICU's in Cape Town.

Annelie holds a Master's degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Bioethics and Health Law.  Her research project was on the Ethical Considerations when using pacifiers for NNS in South African NICU's.  She specifically looked at ethical dilemmas in hospitals with a Baby Friendly Hospital accreditation.

Annelie is the founder and owner of Ethics Simplified, a company providing training to health care workers on the Bioethics and Health Law.  She aims to provide practical solutions to everyday ethical dilemmas faced in the workplace.

She is also a guest lecturer at the Department of Speech Language Pathology at the University of Stellenbosch.


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