Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vietnam - As hard as having a baby in the year of the Dragon

VietNamNet Bridge - Three women sharing a bed; extra beds being arranged along corridors to serve pregnant women; even rich women being unable to rent a service room are what is going on at the Hanoi Obstetrics Hospital in the year of the Dragon.

Aside from a lot of people prefer the year of the Dragon to give birth that makes the number of pregnant women increase sharply this year, after fatal accidents occurred for pregnant women at local clinics were reported, many women in neighboring provinces flock to Hanoi with the desire to give birth safely, thus making it obstetric hospitals in Hanoi to be overloaded.

The increase of new-born babies in the year of the Dragon has been predicted in advance. However, the pressure on obstetric hospitals increases heavily in the last months of the year (from August onwards).

If someone visits an obstetric hospital in Hanoi this time, they will see the unusually crowded scene there.

Nguyen Thi Dung, from Hoai Duc district, Hanoi, just had a baby at the Hanoi Obstetric Hospital. Dung wanted to rent a service room but she could not. Only those who made orders in advance or have “connections” with the hospital’s staff can have a service room.

Dung had to stay in a room of about 10-12sq.m in the postpartum ward. The room has six beds but over 10 women.

Being painful after the labor, she had to share space with two other women on a bed which was combined by two single beds. Some women had to lie on folding beds.

Each woman here had 2-3 relatives who came to take care of the mother and her new-born baby. These people brought here electric fans, making this small room more cramped and stuffy.

Outside, beds and folding beds were placed very close to each other for mothers along corridors, giving no space for people to walk. “This is so horrible! But I have no choice," said Dung.

Flocking to Hanoi for safe birth-giving

At the Central Obstetrics Hospital, the same situation also occurs when the number of pregnant women is on the rise. Many of them can give normal birth at hospitals at lower levels.

Besides people who want to have babies in the year of the Dragon, many women from neighboring areas flock to hospitals in Hanoi to give birth for safety.

Ms. Phuong, from An Thi district, Hung Yen province, said she was determined to go to Hanoi for safe delivery, not at local hospitals.

The reason is that in April, a woman and her newborn baby died at the provincial hospital. Then, Phuong well as many other women went to Hanoi to give birth.

Therefore, a large number of pregnant women who give birth at the Hanoi and the Central Obstetrics Hospitals come from the neighboring provinces of Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, etc.

Dr. Nguyen Manh Tri, from the Hanoi Obstetrics Hospital, told VietNamNet that the hospital has 300 beds but it has to utilize all the remaining space to add additional 300 beds.

The hospital always has to serve over 1,000 patients, making the hospital's operating capacity up to 200 percent.

Overload at the Hanoi Obstetrics Hospital is more serious this year because the Central Obstetrics Hospital is being repaired. In addition, the merger of Ha Tay province into Hanoi makes the number of people flocked to the hospital to suddenly increase.

According to Dr. Tri, in the January-August period of 2012, the hospital received 27,440 births (compared to 24,109 cases in the same period of 2011). Of these, 50 percent of the cases were Cesarian.

In 2010, the Hanoi Obstetric Hospital welcomed about 29,000 newborn babies. The figure rose to 37,876 in 2011. However, the number is expected to be up to 40,000 babies this year.

Mr. Nguyen Khac Hien, director of the Hanoi Department of Health, said that in the first three months of the year, more than 18,600 children were born in Hanoi alone, nearly 3,000 up over the same period of last year. Notably, the proportion of the third-child accounted for more than 7 percent. The imbalance in the sex ratio at birth in the capital city is also increasing at an alarming rate.

Statistics of the General Department of Population and Family Planning showed that, in the first five months of the year, the total number of newborn children is 516,169; 13.5 percent over the same period in 2011 (over 61,000).

Ngoc Anh

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