The Government will be constructing high-dependency units (HDUs) at four hospitals to reduce neonatal deaths, from an allocation of $620 million in the 2020/2021 Budget, now before the House of Representatives.
Under the Programme for Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC), procurement for the HDUs will be completed, and training of doctors and nurses and other health professionals will be finalised.
Completion of academic research on the cause and risk factors of premature birth will be done, and the award of grants to patients’ rights initiatives, as well as boosting of the skills for community health aids will be done.
The programme, which commenced in 2013, has delivered achievements up to the end of December, such as provision of equipment to the Mandeville Regional Hospital HDU, six ambulances to the institution, and 150 midwife bags for various health centres.
Training for critical care nurses and post basic care has been completed, and health-seeking behaviour initiatives with Rise Life Management were also completed. Training for two nutritionists in postgraduate diplomas was completed, and in-service training in neonatology for nurses was also completed.
The objectives of PROMAC, which is funded by the Government of Jamaica and the European Union (EU), are geared at reducing the incidence of neonatal deaths due to lack of access to high-dependency care, reducing maternal deaths due to lack of access to emergency obstetrics care, and improving the quality of management of high-risk pregnancies at both tertiary and primary healthcare facilities.
PROMAC also seeks to improve the population’s approach to maternal and child health, enhance public awareness and understanding of healthcare processes and patients’ rights, and strengthen the institutional capacity of the ministry and the regional health authorities.