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Women's health group takes issue with committee investigating dead babies

Published:Tuesday | October 11, 2016 | 9:56 AM

At least one advocacy group is taking issue with the committee set up by the health ministry to investigate last month's deaths of four babies from a reported bacterial infection at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston.

The babies reportedly died of sepsis, which they contracted from their mothers.

Since then Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, has appointed a special committee of administrators and medical personnel from the health ministry to investigate the deaths.

Tufton has promised to deliver a report within a week.

However, Executive Director of the Women’s Health Network, Dr Rudolph Stevens, says the committee members lack the technical skill set to fully investigate a hospital infection outbreak.


Women's Health Network Executive Director, Dr. Rudolph Stevens

Dr Stevens also says it will be difficult to accept the findings of their report because the health ministry is conducting an investigation into its own operations.

However, Chief Medical officer Dr Winston De La Haye says an independent investigation is not necessary, adding that the committee members have access to confidential information at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.

 Dr De La Haye also says an external investigation is unnecessary because the bacteria which caused the deaths were not present inside the hospital.


Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye

Yesterday, Dr De La Haye announced that 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.

The tests are expected to cost approximately J$80 million.