Every neonatal death is investigated – Minister Lawrence tells National Assembly

“Even one death is one too many”

─ millions allocated to dept. to ensure “we can bring this down to zero”

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 12, 2018

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence today assured the National Assembly that every neonatal death is investigated since “even one death is too one too many.”

Minister Lawrence was responding to questions posed by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Vindhya Persaud regarding neonatal deaths recorded between June 01, 2017, to June 30, 2018, at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.

The Health Minister explained that there was no increase during the period June 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, rather, the numbers followed along the same trajectory. Of the 1,155 admissions to the NICU, there were 119 deaths of new-born babies, representing 10.3 percent of the total admissions.

“If you look over the years, it has been declining and we continue to work and put measures in place to ensure that we can bring this down to zero. This is what all of us must work towards.”

On the issue of investigated cases of neonatal deaths, Minister Lawrence further informed the house that all neonatal deaths are recorded, a report then is prepared and reviewed by the Child Mortality Committee, and once any discrepancies are observed, further investigations are conducted.

For that period under review, the minister added that there was no special investigation launched since no discrepancies were found.

Between January to April 2018, there were 32 deaths of newborns. This trend was broken and neonatal deaths reduced to three deaths in June. The latter is as a result of millions being allocated to the department.

According to Minister Lawrence, while the government have signed on to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and is working towards being compliant to SDG-Three (Good Wealth and Wellbeing). The government has recognised that the responsibility is on them to ensure that at every level, all the necessary services are provided to the citizens.

By: Synieka Thorne.