Mercy flight fails

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MADANG is mourning the loss of its first New Year twin babies.
The two boys were born prematurely to Nancy Koreim at Modilon General Hospital after being airlifted there on a mercy dash from remote Josephstaal.
Medical staff fought desperately to save the twins on Saturday night but to no avail, specialist nurse Sr Diana Malip said last night.
Lack of antenatal care in Josephstaal area forced the mother to be medevaced to Madang on New Year’s Eve where the first boy, weighing 700g, was delivered at around 1.45am on Friday followed by the second, weighing 800g, at 3.15am.
Sr Cathy Michael at the maternity ward said the twins were the first New Year babies for the hospital but, sadly, they were born premature and underweight.
Sr Michael said that Ms Koreim was only six months pregnant and had
not received antenatal care which was vital to the survival of new-born babies and mothers.
Sadder still, Ms Koreim did not have any money to buy nappies and the two babies were wrapped in cotton wool which did not provided much protection against the cold, another factor that could have contributed to their deaths, according to nurses at the hospital.
They also said that the mother never visited the hospital during her pregnancy.
According to nurses, the mother placed the dead babies in glove box and was taken home for burial.
She had asked for help to buy a rainbow bag to wrap the bodies of her babies to take to a settlement at Danip, outside Madang, where her brother lives, to bury them there because she could not afford to take them home to Josephstaal.
Hospital workers helped her to buy the bag and she took her babies away for burial.
The Josephstaal area is in the Middle Ramu electorate.
Its MP, Ben Semri, is the Fisheries Minister.
Josephstaal and most of Middle Ramu are inaccessible by road and vital government services such as health are virtually non-existent while schools and health centers often lack medical supplies and often run down or had been forced closed.
According to nurses at Modilon hospital, not many people, especially mothers, are referred to the hospital from the area due to transportation problem.
The only form of transport is by either walking through the bushes for three to four days before reaching the nearest main road at Bogia or walk to the Ramu River to take a canoe down the river to Base camp in Bogia district.