Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have a return to a question asked by Mr. Ludy Pudluk on October 14th regarding the status of the birthing centre and the pilot project in the Keewatin.
Madam Speaker, the Rankin Inlet birthing project appears to be functioning very well. There have been 20 babies delivered in the health centre since November 22, 1993. Only one mother and baby had to be medevaced out after delivery, due to prematurity of the infant. Two deliveries had minor complications, but the nurse/midwives were able to handle the situation in the absence of the regional physician. High and extreme risk mothers are still being sent out to Winnipeg for safe delivery of their infants in a hospital setting.
The education component of the project is progressing very well. The partners of the mothers are becoming more involved in the classes and attending clinics with their partners. It has been noted that fathers who have attended the delivery of their baby are now visiting the well-baby clinics with their new infants.
Madam Speaker, there have been problems in staffing the nurse/midwife positions. Both midwives who started with the project have left. The Keewatin Regional Health Board has advertised twice across Canada and has not been able to staff the position yet. The coordinator of the project is working in one of the positions and the second position is staffed by rotating nurses from within the Keewatin region to ensure coverage until the positions can be filled.
Efforts are continuing to locate replacements for the midwives.