At first glance, there is little that seems extraordinary about the hospital that risks being cut out of a country, reports The Telegraph.
Save for the palm trees in its grounds or the dramatic views across volcanic hills and reef-bound lagoons, it could be a health facility just about anywhere in the First World.
Yet the Central Hospital of Mayotte (CHM) has a story like no other: bitter political rows have been fought over it, people have died in droves trying to reach it and Marine le Pen, the nationalist politician, has acquired a devoted following among a group of black French Muslims in part because of it.
The CHM boasts a singular claim to fame that is at the root of all these passions. Of all the hospitals in the European Union, none delivers as many babies – even though it is situated on a French island colony off the east African coast.
It is not a statistic that the hospital’s overworked staff are proud of, however, for the record is eclipsed by another: Seventy per cent of the mothers giving birth on its maternity ward are foreign, most of them illegal migrants hoping that their children will gain French citizenship by being born on French soil.