Adieu to Penang’s oldest maternity hospital

GEORGE TOWN: After serving mothers-to-be for more than eight decades, Penang’s oldest maternity hospital will be making way for development soon, leaving a sense of nostalgia for generations of folk here.

Among them is housewife K. Kalavathi, 67, who was born in Penang Maternity Hospital along with her 10 siblings, her children, nieces as well as nephews over the years.

“A total of 30 people from three generations of my family were born there, ” she said.

Her siblings are now aged between 56 and 73.

“I can still remember the time when my first daughter was born in 1984. I cried in pain but the doctor who was attending to me just smiled and told me to hang in there.

“At that time, there were not many Caesarean births, so loud cries from mothers in pain while delivering their babies were common, ” she said in an interview.

Kalavathi also recalled her mother giving birth to her youngest sister there.

“I was 12 years old then. I was beside my mother with my other siblings and I could remember my elder sister holding her hands before she was wheeled into the delivery room, ” she added.

Kalavathi said she last visited the hospital a decade ago to see a friend’s daughter who had just given birth.

“Nothing had changed much, with the building still having a dilapidated look, although there were more newer equipment.

“Anyone born there from the 40s to the 90s will have fond memories of the place, ” she said, adding that it would be sad to see the building demolished.

Six years ago, the maternity ward was moved to a temporary building at the Penang Hospital and the original three-storey building in Sepoy Lines Road, which was built in 1939, was left idle.

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Penang , maternity hospital , development


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