On January 1, a new midwifery center launched operations at Põlva Hospital which will offer pre- and postnatal monitoring and consultations. The hospital is no longer providing birthing services, however.
A notice on Põlva Hospital's homepage states that as of January 1, 2020, the nearest maternity wards to Põlva County are at South Estonian Hospital in Võru and Tartu University Hospital.
Midwives at the Põlva hospital's new midwifery center will advise pregnant people regarding how to recognize signs indicating they should start driving to their nearest maternity ward, and in which cases they should call an ambulance.
The decision to shut down the maternity ward in Põlva was made by the Põlva Hospital board in November. Board chairman Marek Seer said at the time that there weren't enough gynecologists, anesthesiologists or pediatric doctors at the hospital, and access to blood components at the hospital was insufficient in case of the sudden need for a blood transfusion.
The hospital board also reviewed the Estonian Gynaecologists' Society's position as well as Statistics Estonia's birth rate forecasts, and decided with a vote not to seek additional funding for obstetric services.
Editor: Aili Vahtla