[EDITORIALS]Regulate Maternity Recovery SitesAt two maternity recovery centers located in Ilsan-gu, Goyang, Gyeonggi province, 10 infants have suffered recently from severe vomiting and diarrhea, and three of them died after being hospitalized. Even before exploring the causes of the illnesses, the incidents show the centers should be strictly monitored.
Post-delivery maternity care centers began appearing in major cities in the mid-1990s. The centers are a natural result of the changes in our family life. Due to urbanization and the trend toward nuclear families in our industrialized society, fewer and fewer family members and relatives are available to assist in the care of newborn babies. As more women continue to work outside the home after marriage, they are reluctant to take extended leaves from their jobs after delivering their child. Moreover, fewer young couples have their parents and grandparents to rely on for childcare as older generation increasingly have started to seek to enjoy their own lives.
Because of these social changes, the number of post-delivery maternity centers for mothers and their infants has skyrocketed nationwide. In a recent survey conducted by a women's organization, more than 90 percent of women in Korea say these maternity centers are necessary. The survey results show that the centers are not a passing phenomenon.
Yet, the maternity centers are not regulated, because they fit into no state-listed business category. No supervising agency monitors the management of these centers; no law is on the books to govern their standards, staff and sanitary conditions. No regulation on compensation for accidents exists. Only a few maternity centers employ nutritionists and cooks.
We should no longer risk the lives of mothers and babies. The government should establish laws regulating the centers' health and hygienic standards and requiring security and protection systems as strict as those at medical institutions.