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Pregnant women transferred abroad over lack of incubators
Neonatalogy

Pregnant women transferred abroad over lack of incubators

by Andréa OLDEREIDE 19.01.2022
Last year, 59 women had to be transferred abroad to give birth due to a shortage of suitable incubators for premature babies
59 women have had to be transfered abroad to give birth in 2021
59 women have had to be transfered abroad to give birth in 2021
Photo credit: Shutterstock

A lack of incubators at maternity hospitals in Luxembourg has led to pregnant women being transferred to a hospital outside the country to give birth to premature babies, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said on Wednesday.

Last year, 59 women had to be transferred abroad to give birth due to a shortage of suitable incubators and specialists who are able to treat certain neonatal health conditions.

The current infrastructure for babies with specific neonatal needs is “non-existent”, said Nathalie Oberweis, member of the Left party (déi Lénk), in a parliamentary question to Lenert.

The occupancy rate for beds in the maternity units is between 90% and 100% every day, Lenert said in response, adding that occasional overruns result in patients being transferred abroad. About 95% of the transfers for patients going into the Centre Hospitalier du Luxembourg (CHL) in Strassen are linked to a lack of space in the high-risk pregnancy unit, or in the neonatal unit, Lenert said.

Since 2016, the number of incubators for intensive neonatal treatment has remained the same at CHL, as has the number of beds for newborns and premature babies at the Bohler Clinic in Kirchberg. Despite plans to add six new incubators at CHL’s intensive neonatal service, there are currently only 16 beds available. At the Bohler Clinic, only seven incubators are stationed.

More than 6,400 babies were born in Luxembourg in 2020, the latest available annual figures published by the country's statistics office, Statec. 


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