A total of 119 babies died in the Neonatal Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) from June 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence said Thursday.
She made the statement during a sitting of the National Assembly. The deaths reported were specifically from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which caters mainly for premature babies.
The question on the “alarming” number of deaths in the Unit was raised by Opposition Parliamentarian Dr Vindhya Persaud.
Lawrence revealed that for the year under consideration there were 1, 155 admissions at the Unit and the number of deaths accounted for 10.3% of the total admissions.
Dr Persaud wanted to know the cause of the deaths, but though Minister Lawrence walked with technical staff, she could not answer the question immediately and asked that the question is put in writing.
Lawrence said neither the Ministry nor the GPHC was opposed to answering any questions.
The Minister acknowledged that one death is one too much and said the Hospital was working to bring the number to zero.
She said every neonatal death is reviewed by the Child Mortality and Morbidity Committee, which is comprised of representatives of government and private sector.
Only in the case of discrepancies are further investigations done. For the year under question, she said no further investigation was warranted.
In addition, she stated since there was no increase in the number of deaths for the previous year, no additional measures were put in place in the Unit.
Minister Lawrence said the GPHC does employ cleaning practices routinely and sterility checks are done after cleaning.
Further, she said that is a review of all cleaning and hygienic protocols are done by the quality improvement department.