4 Apr 2005

Fears that equipment is threatening lives of premature babies in Suva in Fiji

12:18 pm on 4 April 2005

There are fears in Fiji that more premature and newborn babies with breathing difficulties could die because the resuscitation machine at Suva's Colonial War Memorial Hospital has been contaminated.

The Fiji Times quotes a well-known gynaecologist, who did not want to be named, as saying the machine, which is more than 10 years old, has been infected by bacteria.

He says this is really dangerous because new-born babies with breathing difficulties need to be hooked up to the machine for several days to stay alive.

The gynaecologist says the machine, believed to be the cause of five infant deaths last week, is not being used.

The vice president of the Fiji College of General Practitioners, Dr Wahid Khan, says new equipment should be put in place.

The general secretary of the Fiji Nursing Association, Kuini Lutua, says medical staff are trained to perform to the best of their abilities but it is impossible to do so when hospitals do not have the proper equipment.

She says the issue has been raised with the Ministry of Health but nothing has been done.