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Authorities address childbirth deaths

Health Ministry says hospital staff must improve

  • ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam
  • May 23, 2012
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The Health Ministry has instructed medical professionals to retrain staff at hospitals and clinics throughout the country after a spate of recent childbirth deaths during the past month.

The Department of Mother and Child Health yesterday issued an urgent directive in a bid to tackle the problem following the high-profile deaths of seven mothers and five babies in Ho Chi Minh City and five other provinces since April 19.

It urged health officials to examine the process of medical checkups and medical equipment at healthcare centers nationwide.

“Those that do not meet the main criteria will be temporarily closed,” the notice warned.

Last week, health officials at Dong Nai hospital outside of Ho Chi Minh City announced doctors had taken responsibility for the deaths of Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, 29, and Mai Thi Lanh, 39, both expectant mothers who died of blood loss after giving birth.

“If the doctors had had sufficient qualifications and experience, the mothers and their babies would have been saved,” they admitted.

Three expectant mothers and their three babies reportedly died at hospitals in Quang Ngai, Hung Yen and Bac Ninh provinces on April 20 and 21 after doctors refused emergency cesareans, while a further two mothers and their children died during the procedure.

Another case on May 13 in which a pregnant woman in Gia Lai province aborted seven months into her pregnancy after being told the unborn baby had a physical defect has caused yet more concern after the foetus was later found to be in good health.

Tran Ngoc Hai, a doctor at an obstetrics hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, said Vietnam still sees 75 deaths per 100,000 childbirths with hemorrhaging responsible in more than 40 percent of cases.
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