Tacloban, Philippines - UNFPA was planning to share the good news of the safe birth of the first baby of 2014 born in Tacloban in the Philippines. However, the baby who was born a little past midnight by caesarean-section in the city’s main medical centre and its mother are both not doing well. The baby is still in the neonatal intensive care with a weak heartbeat. The mother, who suffers from hypertension, is still in the operating room.
The Eastern Visayas Medical Centre, where the baby was born, is now well equipped to respond to such emergencies. Shortly after the typhoon, UNFPA provided the medical centre with lifesaving equipment to ensure safe births. The doctors are doing everything they can to save the lives of both mother and baby.
UNFPA estimates that there will be nearly 375,000 births in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2014 alone. This situation is a stark reinforcement of the challenges women in crisis situations like the Philippines, face every day. For UNFPA, it underlines just how critical it is to keep working to ensure that access to reproductive health care is made a priority in emergencies. UNFPA has provided medical equipment to all health facilities in Tacloban and in affected areas in Leyte and Eastern Samar. Two “hospitals in containers” have been provided. These temporary facilities, introduced for the first time in the Philippines, are specifically designed to provide emergency obstetric care, including Caesarean sections.
Earlier today, at 6:09pm on 31 December, a baby was safely born by caesarean-section in one of these “hospitals in a container” provided by UNFPA to the local government in Palo, Leyte. We share with you the picture of the baby girl and her mother Vivian Aplaca.