Last week I visited the maternity clinic for the first time in my adult life. No – I’m not a father yet but I just became an uncle again!

My cousin sister had her baby and I went to visit. She delivered a bouncing 3.05KG baby girl at about 4PM on Sunday (26th December 2010).

Inside I became aware of the plight of mothers and the state of the facilities. I was appalled that there were not enough beds for mothers. In fact, the shortage forces some mothers to give in the registry area!

And the thing that was most shocking was the size of the clinic. The clinic services mothers from the nearby Central villages, settlements and the majority of Port Moresby. However, the size could almost be compared to a rural clinic.

I’m going to become a father sometime in the future and seeing the facilities is giving me serious worries about what would happen. Will my future wife give birth in the waiting area? Will my child be born on the hospital floor? This is something that every parent fears.

Private clinics and hospitals are also using this to their advantage. Some mothers are practically intimidated by doctors to use private facilities because of this shortage. Now while some of what these doctors say may be true, the very expensive fees they charge seem to contradict their concern for mothers.

And while the government is still debating the Pacific Medical Centre issue, can they at least put some serious kina to have the maternity wing upgraded?

It doesn’t take a genius (or an expensive census exercise) to see that the population of Port Moresby is growing exponentially. And if nothing is done now, our mothers will be giving birth on the lawns outside the clinic soon.

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