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Thread: Five women to a bed in world's busiest maternity ward

  1. #1
    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    Default Five women to a bed in world's busiest maternity ward

    Inside the world's busiest maternity ward where women sleep five to a bed and 100 babies are born every day

    • 300 mothers arrive at the Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital each day
    • The hospital serves a Manila slum named Tondo, built on a rubbish dump
    • Mothers share a delivery room with at least five other birthing women
    • Head midwife Anna Prebus has delivered around 200,000 babies
    • New babies and their mothers sleep five or more to a bed
    • Hospital subject of new BBC documentary World's Busiest Maternity Ward

    PUBLISHED: 15:45, 30 October 2013 | UPDATED: 18:20, 30 October 2013

    Rosalyn, already a mother of six children, is waiting to give birth. But she will not enjoy the privacy of her own delivery room, her husband Eduardo by her side.
    Instead, Rosalyn will be one of the 300 new mothers crammed into the wards at the Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, which sees, on average, 60 new babies come into the world every single day.
    Space at the maternity wing is at a premium, so Rosalyn and her new baby will share with other mothers, usually five to a bed but sometimes more, and she will give birth as part of a group of six when the time comes.
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    Crammed: The wards at the Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital are packed - with more than five women per bed

    Dubbed the 'world's busiest maternity ward', the natal wing at the Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital serves the nearby Tondo slum, a former rubbish dump now home to half a million people.

    Here, Rosalyn and her husband Eduardo eke out a living on his daily salary of 380 pesos (6), augmented by Rosalyn's embroidery work which brings in around 280 pesos (4) every few days.
    'Even if you have no work, you still have to pay the bills,' explains Eduardo. 'I have two jobs for my family's sake.
    'I'll do anything to earn more money for my family, odd jobs - even if it's on a Sunday.'
    Back at the hospital, Rosalyn is having her final check up with one of the nurses at the Dr Jose Fabella.
    Watched by documentary film maker Anita Rani, Rosalyn discusses the blood donors she will need to bring to the birth with a brisk, efficient nurse.

    Queued up: Labouring women have to share the delivery suite with at least five other expectant mothers

    Documentary: Film maker Anita Rani surrounded by some of the new mothers at the Manila hospital

    Meet the Manila midwife who has delivered 200,000 babies

    The Philippines is chronically short of blood which makes bagged blood enormously expensive and out of reach for someone like Rosalyn.
    But with a seventh baby on the way, haemorrhage is a real risk so she's arranged for a friend to be at the hospital during the delivery along with Eduardo.
    'It would be better to have three donors,' chides the midwife. 'Because here in Fabella, three donors is the equivalent of the amount of blood that would be used for you.

    'We prepare for your delivery because we don't know if you will bleed at the time of your delivery. Remember it's your seventh pregnancy.'
    Seven children is not unusual in the Philippines. In Tondo, families of 10 or even 12 are common, and as a result, at peak times, midwives at the Dr Jose Fabella can deliver as many as 100 babies within a 24-hour period.
    'Sometimes, during high season, 13 to 16 babies are in the delivery room at the same time,' Arlene Matanguihan, a resident doctor, said.

    'It's chaotic but an organised chaos. We can still manage no baby drops out on the floor.'

    Privacy: For mothers like Rosalyn, there's no room where they can spend time alone with their newborn

    Experienced: Chief midwife Anna Prebus, left, has delivered an estimated 200,000 babies

    Chief midwife Anna Prebus has delivered so many babies, she finds it impossible to remember how many she has brought into the world.
    'I'm sorry but I can't remember [how many babies I've delivered],' she tells Rani. 'It's so many! Maybe 200,000. I've been here since 1986, almost 28 years.'
    One in five of central Manila's mothers come here to deliver their babies, and midwives work day and night.
    As a result, conditions in the hospital are grim, with queues of pregnant women waiting in the reception area and hundreds more squeezed into the tiled wards.
    Those on the verge of giving birth are packed into a tiny labour room. 'There are five in a bed, sometimes we have more,' notes Prebus, who points to women being wheeled into the delivery room, at the very last minute, in groups of six or more.
    But for Rosalyn, giving birth in front of five others is the least of her worries. Although the Dr Jose Fabella is a public hospital, operations have to be paid for.
    As a result, she and Eduardo live in fear of complications and a hugely expensive caesarian section.

    Uncomfortable: Post partum mothers are crammed into beds while their babies wait in a nearby nursery

    Labour: A group of nurses and midwives cluster around a mother giving birth - there's no privacy at all

    'I'm worried because it's her [Rosalyn's] due date,' explains Eduardo as he waits nervously by his wife's side.
    'I am also concerned with the child, whether it's going to be a normal delivery or by caesarian.

    'If she doesn't have a normal birth, we will be in financial trouble. The budget is our number one problem.'
    'I will force myself to give birth by normal delivery,' adds Rosalyn. 'I just want a normal delivery. I cannot accept a caesarian section.
    'I hope to have a problem-free delivery. That's what I pray for - that we will be OK when I give birth.'
    Luckily for Rosalyn, her birth is a smooth one.
    'There's no screaming, there's no babies crying, everyone is very controlled and composed,' comments a watching Rani.

    Newborns: Documentary maker Anita Rani with two of the babies born at the world's busiest maternity ward

    Disgusting: Like many on the maternity ward, Rosalyn lives in Tondo - a teeming slum built on a rubbish dump

    'I don't know what that says about Filipino women, something about their psyche... Just like that, another baby is born.'
    When Rosalyn's baby boy finally makes his appearance, the new mother is relieved, if apprehensive about his future.
    'If the child can finish his studies, I hope he won't be like us where you need to work just to be able to eat,' she says.
    'There should be a limit on the amount of children you have. That is why I am teaching them not to follow in my footsteps and have lots of babies.'
    Wise words, but for Prebus and her busy team of midwives, the 24-hour round of births continues.

    Read more: Inside the world's busiest maternity ward where women sleep five to a bed and 100 babies are born every day | Mail Online

  2. #2
    A*O is offline
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! A*O's Avatar
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    Dear Pope Francis
    If you really want to make a difference to mankind please tell your devout flock in third world countries that it's OK to use birth control now.

    I only found out recently that divorce isn't legal in the Philippines thanks again to the Church.
    I've never liked lesbianism - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth
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  3. #3
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    and yet the philippines makes access to contraception almost impossible.

    if only they tied all these women's tubes during their stay in the ward...

    eta: lol a*o, great minds...
    and magic milkshakes for all!
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  4. #4
    Elite Member MmeVertigina's Avatar
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    I was going to say that I would opt for home birth, but then I saw the picture at the end showing the houses. Very frustrating all around. & I agree A*O.

  5. #5
    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    People in the Philippines really need something to do. Can we get them cable?
    Brookie likes this.
    What if Superman is psychotic and everyone can see that he's Clark Kent but they just play along not to set him off?

  6. #6
    Elite Member heart_leigh's Avatar
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    My parents had immigrated to Canada years before and I was always taught from a young age what a struggle it was to survive there. Before my mother passed away, she sent money called remittance money to help our relatives in the Philippines. While I didn't know any relative who lived in the slums, it's quite a sad sight to see poverty-stricken people living in makeshift shacks.

    The Catholic Church has such a stronghold there; it's unbelievable. The more children you have is considered a blessing. Birth control is out of the question. That's one of the reasons why my mother chose to break away from the Catholic Church because she disagreed wholeheartedly. Anyway, my mom helped with finances to educate our poorer relatives. She knew having too many babies would bring much hardship. She even told one cousin she'd pay for a tubal ligation after number three. My cousin lied about having her tubes tied (I don't know what she used the money for) and she went on to have...EIGHT! My mom found out and she was PISSED!

    My mom refused to send any more money until there was proof my cousin had her tubes tied. If I recall, she sent another relative who still lived in the Philippines to go with my cousin to the doctor's. God only knows my cousin would've gone on to have a couple more kids. Now that my mom's gone, I do what I can and send money and care packages from time to time. I make sure the money is being used for schooling and nothing else. It really does break my heart to see so many people suffer, but with so many children, what can you do? That's why contraception is a MUST.
    rollo likes this.
    Rock the fuck on!

  7. #7
    Elite Member WhateverLolaWants's Avatar
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    My father's MUCH younger (Younger than me) wife is Philippino and, as they live in Malaysia, they go to visit her family often. The family has tons of kids. That being said, they also really work together to make things work in a different dynamic than what we see here in the states. I don't think it's healthy, but I can also see how they get by. It seems like this is the result of the culture clash of a western religion with a more eastern culture.

    My Dad's wife is the girl in the family with the highest level of education (She has a college degree in Math) and, little surprise, was comfortable with the fact that my father has had a vasectomy so she will never have any children. I think education is a big one in this.
    There will be times you might leap before you look
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    Do it anyway

  8. #8
    Elite Member heart_leigh's Avatar
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    ^ Agreed. Education is a huge factor. It's also not surprising the least educated are unaware how they got pregnant in the first place. I kid you not. Oh, and I have to add a simple yet illogical reason why they keep on having babies. Not only are babies considered a blessing, but more babies means they will grow up to help make money (the irony) and take care of the elder family members. I know it doesn't make sense considering extra babies are extra mouths to feed.
    Rock the fuck on!

  9. #9
    Elite Member Air Quotes's Avatar
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    Can you imagine how motherfucking loud it is in there?
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