x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Shortage of staff closes maternity ward again

The health ministry said this year that five medical facilities would be built in the Northern Emirates at a cost of Dh1.25 billion.

UMM AL QAiWAIN // Staff shortages have closed the maternity ward at Umm al Qaiwain Hospital for the second time in less than a year.

One gynaecologist is on holiday and the other on bereavement leave, said Juma Obaid Al Assi, deputy director of the hospital's administration department.

Mr Al Assi said the hospital had no choice but to close the ward.

"The hospital will, for the time being, co-operate to transfer pregnant women to neighbouring big hospitals like Sheikh Saqr Hospital in Ras al Khaimah and Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman," he said.

The ward is expected to reopen this week but Mr Al Assi could not say when. It also closed last December when both gynaecologists were on leave.

A number of residents called on authorities to ensure there was enough staff to avoid shortages.

"These kind of closures should not be happening anywhere in the UAE," said Mohammed Abdul Aziz, an Emirati resident of Umm al Qaiwain.

"There are so many professions struggling to come and work here and authorities should use this chance to recruit health workers."

The maternity ward is the only one in Umm al Qaiwain. The emirate's recently opened preventive medicine centre caters for women only up to the seventh month of pregnancy.

Last year, the FNC criticised the Ministry of Health for the Northern Emirates' poor health facilities.

The ministry said this year that five medical facilities would be built in the Northern Emirates at a cost of Dh1.25 billion.

Among these is the Dh550 million Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, donated by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.

ykakande@thenational.ae