Jul 11, 2009 News
A multi million dollar agreement was inked Thursday between the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This agreement is expected to help stem the incidence of maternal and infant mortality.
Affixing their signatures to the agreement at the Ministry of Health Brickdam head office, were Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hydar Ally and UNFPA Director of Caribbean Sub-Regions, Harold Robinson.
According to UNFPA Country Representative, Patrice LaFleur, the agreement will no doubt lend to the enhancement of the capacity of the local health sector, even as efforts are made to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
“As you are aware as development agencies and countries associated to the United Nations, we all subscribe to the MDGs, there are some targets that countries are expected to reach by 2015 and organisations like ours provide support to Ministries to reach those targets.”
LaFleur said that in addition to addressing the mortality problem, the agreement is also geared at providing enhanced capacity for the Ministry to provide services to the entire population in the context of universal access to reproductive health.
She related that the partnership with the Ministry commenced many years ago, thus Thursday’s activity is testimony to the support and interest that the UNFPA has for Guyana, which is one of two countries benefiting from the Maternal Health Thematic Fund.
The fund was launched by UNFPA globally to provide support to Ministries to scale up their delivery of services and to ensure that no woman should die giving birth.
Director Robinson described Thursday’s signing as a significant event which marks another step in the continuing and evolving partnership with the Health Ministry. He noted that as much as it is recognised that the Government of Guyana has been making progress in reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate, UNFPA has chosen to help the existence efforts.
He said that initially the contribution towards Guyana’s Health sector was in the vicinity of US$100,000, an amount which can be increased based on the efficiency and effectiveness of its utilisation.
An important component of the programme, he said, will include an emergency obstetric and neonatal care assessment which is in fact the baseline for the programme, after which there will be the procurement and provision of equipment and supply to strengthen those services.
At the same time, there will be capacity building for doctors, midwives and other health care providers, Robinson noted.
He added, too, that “there will also be a component related to promoting early antenatal care and strengthening family planning services as the importance of prevention part of this effort is targeting young mothers and prevent adolescent pregnancy rates in Guyana.”
According to Minister within the Health Ministry, Dr Bheri Ramsarran, the government is committed to safe motherhood and is grateful for the assistance from the UNFPA, pointing out that the teachers of health delivery programmes will be more equipped to better train health professionals, thus improving the cadre of health care providers.
The presentation and project signing came as part of the Maternal Health Thematic Fund which was launched in last year January as part of UNFPA’s increased effort to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs.
It was underscored Thursday, that progress towards the goals in the coming years will enable both the Ministry and the UNFPA to envision a world in the near future, where maternal and infant mortality will be eliminated as a public health problem.
In addition to funding project activities, UNFPA will provide the Ministry with three computers and software to improve management of supplies through distribution network, as well as 482,400 male and 78,000 female condoms to improve supply and stimulate demands.
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