FIJI'S largest health referral centre — the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva — is facing a shortage of midwives.
This, according to hospital maternity unit's senior matron Sister Aliote Galuvakadua who said in a shift of eight births, they only had two specialised midwives to look after the deliveries.
"Usually, in a shift of eight births we just have five to six nurses on the ground to look after the delivery and out of those five, only two will be specialised midwives," Sister Galuvakadua said.
Sister Galuvakadua said the World Health Organisation standards required one midwife for a mum and one for the baby.
"... unfortunately for CWMH, it's not as such because of the shortage," she said.
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said they could still manage.
Dr Sharma said there was no acute shortage.
"Whatever manpower we have is manageable," Dr Sharma said in an interview yesterday.
Dr Sharma said intakes into nursing school had increased.
He said nurses were now also given special trainings to manage all wards.
Sr Galuvakadua said the maternity unit did not have enough manpower.
"We are trying our best resource wise," she said.
"Manpower, we do not have the numbers. But resources like manpower and consumables, we have to stretch our supply but we are trying to do our best," Sr Galuvakadua said.
She said they needed the contribution and participation of all communities to give the best service that they had been asked to do.
A total of 8216 babies were delivered at the CWMH last year. For last month alone, it recorded 659 deliveries.