reassignment of then minister of health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, in what became known as ‘the dead babies scandal’.
This time around, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said he was not aware of the babies’ deaths when he was first contacted by The Sunday Gleaner, but promised to investigate the matter.
Tufton later asked health officials to make themselves available to speak to the issue, as he praised the staff at VJH “for the proactive action they took to arrest the situation immediately. That is something for which I give high commendations to the staff.”
Jamaica’s rate of infant mortality – deaths of children before they reach the age of one – has fallen steadily since the 1990s. In 2010, the mortality rate was 17 deaths per 1,000 live births. Last year, according to World Bank figures, the rate fell to 14 deaths per 1,000 live births. That compares with six per 1,000 live births in the United States, and four per 1,000 births in Britain.