119 newborn infants died at GPHC last year, Opposition alarmed

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The Parliamentary Opposition has raised concerns over what they described as the high number of deaths of newborn infants at the Georgetown Public Hospital over the past year.

File photo: PPP MP, Dr Vindhya Persaud

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Vindhya Persaud who was allowed oral questions in Parliament on Thursday, asked Health Minister Volda Lawrence to provide statistics in relation to these deaths.

Lawrence confirmed the MP’s suspicion when she revealed that there have been 119 deaths of newborn infants at the Georgetown Public Hospital during the period June 2017 and June 2018

According to the Minister, from a total of 1155 admissions of neonatal over the period some 10.3 per cent of those admissions resulted in deaths, which she also claimed is far too many.

“The Government recognizes that it has the right and the onus is on us to ensure that at every level of healthcare the necessary services are provided for our people,” she told the National Assembly.

File photo: Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health

The Minister noted that Government has made large investments into improving that specific department and that the issues there are been actively looked at especially over the past three years. While admitting again that the numbers are alarming, Lawrence said there has been no increase in neonatal deaths. Rather, there has been the same line in terms of how those deaths occurred.

“It has been declining and we continue to work and put measures in place to bring it down to zero,” she added. The Minister noted that every death in reported to the relevant authorities and there are consistent and routine tasks done to prevent these deaths which includes sanitation.

Dr Persuad then followed up with a question on whether there was any targeted investigation being done to find out the primary causes of these deaths.

The Opposition MP didn’t seem satisfied that with 30 of those deaths recorded in the first four months of the year, no investigation has been conducted.

Persaud is to submit further written questions to the Health Minister for further clarity on the issue.

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