St. Eustatius

EU-funded maternal and neonatal unit to benefit high-risk pregnant women and newborn babies in St Ann and its environs

09/06/2020 - 21:29
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Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton along with European Union Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska officially opened the newly constructed Maternal and Neonatal High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital on Friday June 5.

The specialized unit will provide top quality emergency care for women with high- risk pregnancies and newborn babies. It includes isolation suites for mother and child and is equipped with radiographic technology, digital computerized imaging systems, critical care ventilators, critical care beds and patient monitoring equipment.

Construction and equipping of the high dependency unit is an important component of the €22 million (J$3 billion) EU grant funded - Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC) signed with the Government of Jamaica in 2013.

It is the first of four such special care units to be opened under PROMAC. Three others will be opened shortly at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Victoria Jubilee Hospital, and Spanish Town Hospital.

"Pregnancy and childbirth are essential to the existence and sustainability of any society. No effort should be spared to ensure that every woman has a fair chance to have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery, regardless of social or economic background,” said EU Ambassador, Malgorzata Wasilewska during the opening ceremony.

She said further that the outputs of PROMAC, which is drawing to a close are impressive and include procurement of six ambulances to improve transportation between health centers and hospitals; training of medical personnel to improve clinical knowledge; and capacity building for civil society to support public education among women in child-bearing ages in order to improve their health seeking behaviours.

The EU’s support to maternal and child health under PROMAC is in alignment with the Government’s own commitment to reduce its maternal and child mortality ratios in keeping with the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals. It is also a reflection of the EU’s commitment to support Jamaica’s economic and social development and enhance some 45 years of partnership and solidarity.

In his address, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton lauded the EU/Jamaica partnership and thanked the EU for its critical support in strengthening Jamaica’s health infrastructure. He also expressed his anticipation of the opening of the remaining facilities.

“We look forward to officially opening the other sites, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness, together with the Regional Health Authorities work for the best health outcomes for all Jamaicans,” said Minister Tufton.

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