The Maternity Ward at Vila Central Hospital (VCH) is facing a shortage of midwives.

The midwife in charge of the Maternity Ward at VCH, Annie Margaret Serel, shared that this is one of the main challenges at the moment.

“A few years back, the midwives added to our numbers were from the Solomon Islands, but many of them faced issues with their papers, passports, and visas. They returned last December, and some also went back to spend time with their families during this past festive season,” she said.

Mrs. Serel explained that in each shift, only two midwives are on duty, clearly indicating a shortage of human resources to manage the entire Maternity Unit.

“VCH is the main referral hospital, but currently, the medical personnel are not only handling emergency cases; they are also dealing with normal cases where mothers come in, deliver babies, and stay overnight. Six or seven hours later, they are released back home to recover due to the issue of limited space and beds,” the midwife said.

She mentioned that there are other facilities capable of providing this service, with available nurses to assist. If all these facilities can operate to deliver babies, it would considerably decrease the workload at the main referral hospital.

Many mothers who come to VCH for delivering babies originate from villages equipped with nurses and midwives.

However, they still choose VCH due to the accessibility of its services. Some might wish to use the health services in their local facilities, but the nurse is often unavailable, or they may harbour doubts about the competence of the nurses at their health facility.

“If nurses in rural areas provide services, especially in delivering babies, work will flow more smoothly as there will be a reduced workload,” Serel said.

“When we have a clinic at our doorstep, we must make use of it. The more we utilise health services in our community, the more confidence we instill in health workers to do their job. Through serving the people, they can acquire more skills.”