BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
THE Honiara National Referral Hospital’s Labour Ward is under-resourced and has been overlooked for years.
The very ward that many would refer to as the ‘place where life starts’, for years has severely affected by ignorance from the leaders, though unnoticed from the outside.
After relocated temporarily in 2017 following an earthquake resulting in the old Labour Ward to near collapse, nothing has been done to solve this.
It was under-resourced and ill-equipped to serve the number of births every day.
Though ill-equipped, statistics tell that an average of 10 to 15 babies was born every day, at the National Referral Hospital (NRH} alone.
In the year 2000, 2,402 deliveries recorded at the National Referral Hospital, 5,985 in 2018, and 5,445 last year. Around 400 to 500 a month and close to 6,000 deliveries per year.
How safe the deliveries were carried out and the risks these mothers and their babies had gone through is still the question.
During a courtesy visit to the NRH on Monday 21st April, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his delegation had the chance to visit the Birthing Center at the Labour Ward First-hand.
Dr. Jack Siwainao, Specialist Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist who is in charge of the labor ward upon receiving the Prime Minister into his unit has briefed him on the matters the ward had faced that needs immediate actions.
He told the Prime Minister that the facility is very small and it did not cater to all of them.
There were only four beds inside the delivery suite and ten recovery beds for mothers to rest after giving birth.
“In 2017 we have vacated our previous Labour Ward and moved here temporarily but it’s almost three years and we felt that it is becoming permanent for us.
“There was only four bed in the delivery suite and ten recovery beds,” Dr. Siwainao told the Prime Minister.
Also in the Labour Ward, some mothers during the courtesy visit were seen sitting on chairs and some even standing up, awaiting their turn into the labour suite.
This is evident enough for the visiting leader and his delegation.
“One of the main problems here is we lack adequate space for labouring mothers and their newborn babies.
“Some mothers who have just given birth were forced to share mattresses with up to three other mothers and their babies,” he said.
Labouring mothers and their babies for these reasons were normally forced to discharge just hours after giving birth.
“Ideally we should keep these women in the hospital for the first 24 hours after delivery.
“There are complications that happen after the delivery and that usually happens within the first 24 hours.
“Some mothers would bleed, some would develop infections and babies who get sick, and that normally happened within that period.
“But again because of lack of space and not enough beds, it has forced us to discharge them as early as four hours after labour.
“This is very risky because all these complications will take place at home,” he said.
He continued; we kindly ask if the government of the day could support us with a much bigger Labour Ward as soon as possible.
“This is the very place that life has started and among these newborn babies are our future Prime Ministers, Doctors, the ones to lead us in the future.
“At the moment this is what taking place here, there is limited privacy and as well as no much space for our staff when they carry out duties,” he added.
Ten babies were reportedly born between 12: am and 12: pm on Monday 21st April, on the same day the Prime Minister visited the Labour Ward.