Plans in 2017 budget to reduce maternal deaths as Guyana records 12 thus far for 2016

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By Royan Abrams

The Ministry of Public Health is taking steps to ensure zero maternal deaths in 2017, as a sum of $8M has been allocated for a programme titled “Support to improve maternal child health” which will commence in the new year.It is expected to contribute to the reduction of maternal deaths in the country which is currently at a total of 12 deaths thus far.

Dr. George Norton- Minister of Public Health
Dr. George Norton- Minister of Public Health

According to the Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton who was at the time speaking at a recent function in Berbice, this programme will also be supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is aimed at strengthening the maternity home waiting strategy, training health workers and strengthen the capacity of the Maternal Child Health Unit among other measures.

The Public Health Minister said after assessing 8 out of the 12 cases of maternal deaths, education can play a major role in preventing the occurrences. “That’s the only way we can get persons to recognize the danger of the symptom they are presenting and that they should come to hospital and seek medical attention there by the appropriate medical personnel,” Dr. Norton noted.

This publication was told that although most of the maternal deaths are to be blamed on the patients themselves, some are also the fault of the doctors who may have dealt with the patients hence the Ministry of Public Health has put systems in place to ensure all maternity deaths are being evaluated by an expert committee.

Dr. Norton informed that the evaluation usually takes some time since all the parties involved do not always cooperate. He added that only recently one of the doctors refused to provide evidence to the experts investigating the various maternity deaths. He noted too that because maternity death is avoidable, doctors should play a more important role.

During 2015 Guyana recorded 17 cases of maternity deaths compared to 12 for this year so far.

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