10 Dec 2003

Vanuatu baby boom fills Vila hospital

11:15 am on 10 December 2003

Vanuatu's baby boom created problems for the capital's hospital in September, when a record number of babies were born.

Just eight midwives delivered 188 babies at Vila Central Hospital, instead of the normal number of between 80 and 100.

A hospital spokesman, Dr Robert Grace, who helped compile a report on the historic number of births, says it worsened existing problems in the hospital.

"Times like last month, it's not uncommon to have two or three women in labour, you'll have another 25 or so post-natals, mothers sleeping on the floor, on mattresses or even traditional mats. The midwives here are very, very dedicated, and it is a burden for them, and at times it is a safety issue with so few staff. If you get someone sick in addition to that it is recipe for a potential disaster."

Dr Robert Grace of Vila Central Hospital.