Sioux Lookout hospital births almost double
Birth rates in First Nations are about twice that of the rest of the province.
The high birth rate on remote reserves in the Northwest has turned the nearest hospital into a model for maternity care.
And Sioux Lookout's Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre is on track to see about 500 babies born this year — that's about twice as many as last year.
The centre’s communications manager, Renee Southwind, said having so many babies makes the hospital a happy place.
"We see lots of babies in their ... little bunting bags," she said. "It's always a joy, you know, it's the future."
Birth rates in First Nations are about twice that of the rest of the province. But there are no hospitals in the remote reserves north of Sioux Lookout, so expectant mothers are routinely sent to Meno-Ya-win. The hospital's prenatal clinic saw 4,018 visits this year, almost double last year's 2,614 visits.
More than a baby a day
That means, on average, more than one baby is born there each day. The record for Meno-Ya-Win is eight babies in one day.
Dean Osmond, manager of acute care at the hospital, said Meno Ya Win has doubled its maternity staff and regularly helps other regional hospitals train their nurses to deliver babies.
"They actually send their nurses to the Meno-Ya-Win and we're doing everything we can to be that centre for educating the [obstetrics] nurses," he said.
Hospitals in Red Lake, Fort Frances and Dryden all see fewer births and send their nurses to Sioux Lookout for training.
Meno-Ya-Win starts a new project next week, teaching students from Lakehead University and Confederation College in maternity care.