Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Health Ministry considers infection screening for all expectant mothers

Published:Monday | October 10, 2016 | 10:24 PM

The Health Ministry is now contemplating infection screening for all expectant mothers for signs of vaginal or rectal bacteria that may harm their newborn babies.

This development coincides with the deaths of four babies last month who contracted the bacterial infection sepsis from their mothers while at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston.

Speaking with The Gleaner/Power106 News Centre this morning Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Winston De La Haye said the ministry's protocol is to check mothers who display various risk factors during labour.

However, he says given the deaths, the Ministry is now considering the possibility of routine screening for the infection among all pregnant women.

 

Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Winston De La Haye

He says should the government decide to begin routine checks it will cost approximately J$80 million.

Dr De La Haye says a meeting to decide a way forward is to take place later this week.

Meanwhile, he says the ministry will be addressing issues pertaining the hygiene of pregnant women in general. 

A total of seven babies were infected with sepsis, however, four died. 

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has since ordered a probe into the matter. 

Meanwhile, Dr De La Haye says the ministry is awaiting reports from two of the island's major hospitals on whether they too are also dealing with cases of sespsis.

The Opposition spokesman on health Horace Dalley has claimed that the death toll is as many as 20 and not four as has been reported by the ministry.