Less than ten years ago, expectant mothers could stay up to one week at the maternity ward after giving birth, recalls midwife Marie Jean Baptiste Willy from Vila Central Hospital (VCH).
Nowadays there are approximately 300 births a month and mothers and newborn babies are expected to leave as soon as possible to prevent overcrowding.
As well as a lack of bed and bathroom facilities, mothers are expected to supply their own basic necessities including toilet paper, maternity pads and infant nappies.
According to the midwives at the hospital, most women are unable to afford maternity pads, which are only available at major pharmacies. The majority has to purchase regular pads from Chinese shops and cost as little as 70vt for one pack. Although they aren’t as efficient as sanitary pads, they are certainly more affordable.
Another alternative is to purchase a reusable sanitary pack from Mamma’s Laef, a micro enterprise situated in Pango, which makes reusable sanitary kits consisting of 2 shields and 8 liners that can last up to 3 years. It is 1650vt for a maternity size and although it is slightly costly, they can be re-used as a regular sanitary pad and save money in the long-term.
To ensure a hygienic and safe birthing experience, it is important to come well prepared to the hospital. Here is a list of things that the maternity ward requires you to bring when you come to the hospital.
Wan manis bifo babi i bon, hemi gud idea blong mas redi everi samting blong baby blong yu.
- 3 packets kotex (maternity pads)
- 2 rol toilet paper
- 4-6 pants
- 4-5 dress
- 1 plate
- 2 bath towel
- sop blong swim
- bottle water
Ol items blong babi:
- 4 singlets
- 2 change of clothes
- 24 nappies
- 2 babi sop
- 1 babi powder mo oil
- 1 babi mosquito net
- 1 smol contena
- Medical alchol mo napiton
Taem yu kam long hospital, kam wetem hasben o partna blong yu.
Taem yu gat wan family i silip wetem yu, hemi mas pem 675vt long wan naet.
Plis yu no tekem ol clos blong hospital i go lo haos, from hemi gavman property.
For more information, call the VCH women’s health service at 22100 ext 145 or 5396065.
This article was originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post Life and Style magazine