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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tu Du Maternity Hospital

The babies we were referred were both born at the Tu Du maternity hospital in HCMC, Vietnam. I thought this portion of an article and photos were very interesting as it pertains to them.

Vietnam's abandoned children
Tony Birtley in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The gap between rich and poor is widening and Vietnam has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world.

Of those mothers that continue with their pregnancies, more and more are having to give up their babies after they are born.

The maternity unit at Tu Du hospital sees almost 200 births a day. In the maternity unit of Ho Chi Minh City’s Tu Du hospital there is a daily logjam of women waiting to give birth.

With space at a premium, some women even wait two to a bed.

With almost 200 births a day - nearly 66,000 a year - the hospital's maternity unit is one of the busiest in Asia.

And now even more couples than normal are choosing to have a baby.

to the Chinese lunar calendar this is the year of the Golden Fire Pig, an extremely auspicious time to produce a child which happens every 600 years.

"The sheer scale of it is unbelievable," remarked Dr Jane Hirst a visiting registrar from Australia. "But considering the scale of the birth load they are very professional."

The hospital's four birthing sections are in operation around the clock. For non-private patients there are no epidurals and no pain killers.

But despite this most women hardly utter a sound during childbirth.

Tough they may be, but the mothers faced with giving up their newborn child are often overcome with grief.

Of every 100 births at the hospital, an average of three are given up for adoption doctors say.

Nguyen Van Trung, director of Ho Chi Minh City's Tam Binh orphanage says there are many factors driving mothers to take the painful decision to give up their babies.

"The reasons are economic, the consequences of the war, some children have diseases, some mothers are too poor," he says.

Many come from the countryside and have to give the baby away because they have no means to look after it.

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