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Aceh: field hospital delivers first baby

23-01-2005 Feature

Almost one month after the earthquake and tsunami, the ICRC's newly opened field hospital in Banda Aceh has delivered its first baby, a boy weighing in at 3 kilograms.

    Born by caesarean section just after midnight on 23 January, the baby and his mother are both doing well. Employees at the ICRC's field hospital are celebrating the new born who arrived just days after the 100-bed facility opened.

The parents of the yet to be named infant were grateful to the ICRC team that brought their son into the world.

" The place we were supposed to go did not have the necessary equipment, so we decided to come here, " said proud father, Zulfiki. 

After hours trying to deliver the baby the natural way, staff realized they would have to carry out a caesarean section.

" If we hadn't used a caesarean section, I am afraid that both the mother and child might have died, said midwife, Kirsti Seljebotn of the Norwegian Red Cross.

The ICRC field hospital is manned by over 30 specialists from the Norwegian Red Cross and other National Societies and by locally hired medical and support personnel.

When fully completed it will consist of 25 tents and cover needs in surgery, gynaecolo gy, maternity and paediatrics.

The hospital was donated by the Norwegian Red Cross and set up in close cooperation with the Indonesian Red Cross and the health authorities. The plan is for the hospital to remain operational for three to six months, but it might be needed for up to a year as the main hospital in Banda Aceh was severely damaged.

Because many patients have nowhere to go after receiving treatment, the ICRC is also setting up a camp inside a nearby stadium for up to 400 discharged patients and their relatives, where follow up medical services will be provided.