Over the next five years the reproductive, neonatal and maternal health services in Regions Three, Four and Nine will be strengthened.
This is according to a plan outlined by officials from the Ministry of Public Health, (MoPH) on Sunday.
Among the beneficiaries of the programme, at least 20 Community Health Workers (CHWs) of Region Nine will receive training in the areas of personal hygiene and environmental health, basic anatomy and physiology, clinical practice procedures, maternal and child health.
Dr. Ertenesia Hamilton, Director of the Maternal and Child health Programme at the MoPH explained that Region Nine is the only hinterland region to be covered by the loan from Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Region Nine has faced many challenges within the health sector hence being selected to pilot the project. The IDB had granted $8M loan to the Government of Guyana in February 2017 to be generally utilized for the improvement of reproductive healthcare delivery in Guyana, specifically, issues relating to maternal and child health
For more than a decade, the MoPH has recorded alarming number of maternal deaths.
According to information provided by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, most of the maternal deaths recorded in Region Nine resulted of poor access to health care facilities.
“The main access roads as they are in the Rupununi are considered rough terrain for pregnant women to traverse, whether with ambulance or hired transportation,” she said.
“You represent the various communities in Region Nine and are therefore well placed to respond to the needs of the people. In administering the programme within the region, the curriculum which is designed to cover all pertinent aspects of maternal, a reproductive health and childcare, the finished product…you are going to help us to reduce the mortality rate in this region,” she told the CHWs of their training programme, which is expected to end in 2018.
Despite progress achieved during the last decade, Guyana had reportedly continued to experience one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a maternal mortality rate estimated at 121 per 1,000 live births and an infant mortality rate at 22 per 1,000 live births.
It was revealed that about 93 percent of deaths in children less than one year old occurred in the neonatal period. As such, the programme was designed to support and improve maternal and child health care with a focus on improving access to quality neonatal health services and providing a better path to quality reproductive and maternal health services.
Moreover, the Ministry has asserted that it has been seeking to intensify its efforts to address this shortcoming.
In 2015, there were 17 recorded maternal deaths, while in 2016 there were 12 recorded maternal deaths. Ministry officials have linked the reduction to the fact that there are more trained doctors in the public health system in the field of Obstetrics. It was said too that the reduction in the number of maternal deaths can also be attributed to increased education and women being seen earlier in their pregnancy.
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