Deaths of neona­tals, chil­dren un­der five have dropped

- Lawrence -none of four in­cu­ba­tors in Re­gion Seven func­tion­ing

Stabroek News Sunday - - STABROEK NEWS -

Deaths among neona­tals and chil­dren un­der five years dropped con­tin­u­ally from 526 in 2014 to 184 in 2017 with Re­gion Four (De­mer­ara/Ma­haica) record­ing the high­est fa­tal­i­ties yet with a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary data from the Sta­tis­ti­cal Unit of the Min­istry of Pub­lic Health.

Pub­lic Health Min­is­ter Volda Lawrence made this rev­e­la­tion in a writ­ten re­sponse to ques­tions from PPP/C MP Vind­hya Per­saud, per­tain­ing to in­fant and child health. Lawrence gave a break­down of fa­tal­i­ties among neona­tals, in­fants and fiveyear olds.

In 2014 Re­gion Four recorded the deaths of 112 neona­tals and 133 in­fants, the high­est in the four-year pe­riod. In 2015 the re­gion recorded 17 five-year olds deaths, the high­est among the four years. The low­est deaths, 11, among the three groups for the pe­riod, were recorded in Re­gion Nine (Up­per Esse­quibo/Up­per Takutu).

Asked what mea­sures were put in place to en­sure that all neona­tal in­ten­sive care units (NICUs) are prop­erly equipped and func­tion­ing, Lawrence said, sup­port is be­ing given to the NICU team to visit health fa­cil­i­ties twice a year.

The Help­ing Ba­bies Breathe pro­gramme, she said, is an on­go­ing ini­tia­tive to pro­vide the req­ui­site skills to man­age new born ba­bies and to sta­bilise chil­dren in dis­tress.

The NICUs of the Ge­orge­town Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Cor­po­ra­tion (GPHC) and the West De­mer­ara Re­gional Hos­pi­tal, she said, will ben­e­fit from an In­terAmer­i­can De­vel­op­ment Bank (IDB) loan which will as­sist in the pur­chase of equip­ment.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a peri­na­tal in­for­ma­tion sys­tem, she said, would also as­sist with data man­age­ment.

Lawrence ac­knowl­edged that many ar­eas in the health sys­tem need im­prove­ment hence Gov­ern­ment’s con­tin­ued ef­forts to en­sure uni­ver­sal ac­cess and cov­er­age.

To de­crease the in­equities in pri­mary health care be­tween the coast­land and hin­ter­land, she said, “It is our tar­get that ev­ery hos­pi­tal would have spe­cial­ists to the ar­eas of pae­di­atrics, surgery and ob­stet­rics-gy­nae­col­ogy and this has al­ready be­gun.”

Asked about the sta­tus of the Child Mor­bid­ity and Mor­tal­ity Com­mit­tee, Lawrence said the term of the cur­rent com­mit­tee, which was formed in June 2014 and whose term was ex­tended to the end of Au­gust 2018, has ex­pired.

In terms of re­port­ing child mor­bid­ity and mor­tal­ity, Lawrence said re­gional health of­fi­cers and the Di­rec­tor of Med­i­cal Ser­vices of the GPHC re­port all deaths of neona­tals, chil­dren un­der five years and ma­ter­nal deaths to the Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer who then shares the in­for­ma­tion with the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties for re­view.

Asked if the com­mit­tee has made rec­om­men­da­tions and if any have been im­ple­mented, Lawrence said, it has rec­om­mended more train­ing of staff for the time of labour and de­liv­ery and for the com­ple­tion of “the ALARM”

Volda Lawrence

Vind­hya Per­saud

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