Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness says that, “based on the epidemiological report, Jamaica now has 145.8 deaths per 100,000 live births,” noting that it is of great concern to us in the Ministry.
He said, “our maternal health statistics are below the sustainable development goals (SDGs) target of 70 deaths by 2030. One of the causes of the high rates is due to late presentation of mothers to antenatal care”.
Tufton was delivering his presentation in the 2023/24 Sectoral Debates today (May 3).
He said that Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, member of parliament and state minister in the ministry of health and wellness has been working to reverse the trend.
“Already, since her appointment in 2020, she has moved to develop significant campaigns to improve maternal health outcomes. One such intervention is the ‘Start Right’ initiative. The objective here is to provide adolescents and vulnerable mothers with an incentive for their full participation in the antenatal care provided in the public health system. Mothers are encouraged through our ongoing public education campaign to attend at least four antenatal visits to ensure their own safety and the safety of the child,” he explained.
He said that Cuthbert Flynn has already issued 100 Snuggle Nests which are creative, safe and baby-functional loungers provided to mothers who would have complied with the antenatal health visit conditions.
Tufton said, “This year, the Ministry intends to issue 3,000 Snuggle Nests as part of our interventions to improve maternal and child health. Additionally, we will be working with our colleagues in the Ministry of Labour & Social Security to strengthen the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) conditions for pregnant mothers, ensuring that the additional cash transfers provided to these women can effectively incentivise this critical health seeking behaviour”.
The minister shared that design work on the maternal ward at the Port Antonio Hospital will be completed and a tender will be launched to expand and improve the service delivery in the specialist area of the hospital.
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