My Miracle Baby: Mum

 Medical officer performs emergency delivery in fibreglass boat at Gau Island
21 Dec 2021 12:30
My Miracle Baby: Mum
Dr Ashnita Prasad at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva on December 20, 2021, with Joana Moce, mother of the baby that was delivered on a fibreglass boat in Qarani Village, Gau. Photo: Inoke Rabonu.

It was around 3.45pm on Friday when schoolteacher Joana Moce delivered a baby girl at Qarani Village on the island of Gau.

But this was not an ordinary delivery where she could have the comfort of a hospital bed and hospital room to give birth to her child.

Ms Moce, who was seven months pregnant, successfully delivered a baby girl in a fibreglass boat thanks to the swift and professional work of the team of medical professionals on the island led by medical officer Dr Romeo Naiorosui.

In an interview with the Fiji Sun yesterday, Ms Moce said she couldn’t thank the medical team enough for their show of care personally and professionally during their time of urgent medical need.

“On Friday morning I went out to feed the pigs in the village where I teach in Nukuloa, Gau,” Ms Moce said.

“Upon returning home I started to feel back aches, and this was not something I had experienced before.

“I laid down at home to rest but it kept happening repeatedly, so I asked my husband to arrange for a fibre boat to take me to Qarani Hospital.

“We left home that afternoon and upon reaching Sawaieke Village my water broke, I felt very weak and was in constant pain.”

She said upon reaching Qarani Village where the hospital was, she was unable to walk.

“We had to request for the doctor to come down to where the fibre was berthed to attend to me,” she said.

“Dr Romeo ran down to where we were and he delivered my baby on the same fibre boat I was transported in.

“He acted so professionally with confidence and I am so happy with how he treated me that day.”

Ms Moce and her baby were observed by Dr Naiorosui on the island on Friday night before they were flown over to Suva.

“I was only seven months and it was unexpected that I would have given birth early but the medical professionals on the island looked after me so well that there were no complications throughout the time we spent on the island.”

She is thankful that her miracle baby survived a night on the island knowing she was delivered preterm.



Head of Department Paediatrics Dr Ilisapeci Vereti said they had received the call from Qarani at about 8pm on Friday.

“We were notified that the baby was delivered on a boat and I must say the medical officer had really done well in delivering the baby,” Dr Vereti said.

“He had a few things he was concerned about like the fluids to give the baby, how to keep the baby warm as he was very small.

“So he kept calling on how to care for the baby knowing that the helicopter couldn’t get there that night, so we kept advising him through the phone.

“Another difficulty for him was observing the baby throughout the night, but with the referral notes they sent us, we could see that they kept a good observation record of the baby.”

Dr Vereti said it was their duty to uphold the profession and to always be available to serve the people.

“It’s our duty and calling to help others. It is our duty wherever we are whether in the city or in the maritime islands to answer the call of help.”

She said on Saturday morning Dr Ashnita Prasad had travelled to Gau to retrieve the case and bring the baby and her mother to CWM Hopsital.

Dr Prasad said the baby is in NICU care because of the low birth rate and the need for doctors to continue to observe her.



Ministry of Health and Medical Services Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong said: “This case highlights an occurrence that happens so frequently in Fiji. The effort of the doctor and the nurse to facilitate the delivery of this premature baby but to also keep the baby in a stable enough condition to get to CWMH is a reflection of good knowledge application, hard work and dedication.”


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