Sat | Feb 29, 2020

Gov't making moves to improve delivery of maternal care, childcare

Published:Wednesday | September 26, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton said the Government has made significant strides in strengthening the delivery of maternal care and childcare under the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).

"We have made inroads in a number of areas, which take us along the path to realising the outcomes of the targeted spend of €22 million of this programme," he said.

Dr Tufton was addressing a recent ceremony at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew, to mark the breaking of ground for construction of a high-dependency unit (HDU) at the facility, in addition to Victoria Jubilee, St Andrew; and Cornwall Regional, St James.

The health minister informed that investments have been made in building the capacity of healthcare professionals, citing the award of scholarships for studies at the University of the West Indies.

These include 30 awards for doctor of medicine in paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and anaesthesia and intensive care; 25 for short courses in obstetrics ultrasound; and 15 for fundamentals in neonatal ventilation at the University of the West Indies.

In addition, five fellows have also been trained in maternal-foetal medicine and critical care.

Seventy-three nurses have been trained at the University of Technology - 50 in post-basic critical care, and 23 in Post-basic midwifery, while an additional 22 are currently being trained at the Kingston School of Nursing.

Primary healthcare workers have also been trained in neonatal resuscitation, obstetrics care and customer service, and 25 dieticians and nutritionists have received instruction in neonatal nutrition.

Critical resources have also been procured and distributed under the programme.

These include six ambulances assigned to Mandeville, St Jago Park, Annotto Bay, and the Savanna-la-Mar health centres and the Alexandria and Chapelton community hospitals.

Additionally, 150 fully equipped midwife bags for primary healthcare nurses have been distributed, and health centres and referral hospitals across the island have been outfitted with radiographic and laboratory equipment.

The objectives of PROMAC, which is funded by the Government of Jamaica and the European Union (EU), are geared at reducing the incidence of neonatal deaths which may arise rom the lack of access to high-dependency care; reducing maternal deaths that could result from the lack of access to emergency obstetric care; and improving the quality of management of high-risk pregnancies at both tertiary and primary healthcare facilities.

It involves construction of 11 HDUs at six hospitals as well as the procurement of equipment for the units.