GPHC provides facts regarding infant mortality rates

Today, July 12, 2018, during the 90th sitting of the 11th Parliament, Opposition Member of Parliament Dr. Vindhya Persaud posed a question relating to the Neonatal Mortality Rate at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

The GPHC wishes to assure the public that every life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is precious to its staff and every death is distressing. GPHC continues to work closely with the Ministry of Public Health, the Pan American Health Organization and other agencies in an effort to further decrease neonatal mortality in Guyana. Significant gains have been made in recent years as the details below confirm.

In addition to the comprehensive and detailed response provided in the National Assembly by Minister of Public Health, the Hon. Volda Lawrence to Dr. Persaud’s question, the GPHC wishes to share with the media and the public the following important facts in understanding infant mortality rates in general and specifically at the GPHC.

  • GPHC is home to the ONLY Level 3 NICU in Guyana.
  • This means that GPHC is the only public hospital that is capable of providing a neonate with invasive breathing support.
  • Therefore GPHC receives the sickest and most high risk neonates from BOTH the Public and PRIVATE medical institutions, countrywide.
  • GPHC has capacity to simultaneously support 18 babies in our NICU.
  • However, because sick babies arrive every day, the admission numbers trend over this frequently.
  • GPHC provides care to all babies and does NOT turn away any sick baby that arrives.

For the period June, 2017 to June, 2018, there were 6409 live births and 119 neonatal deaths at GPHC. This is a significantly lower number from the decade-high 295 deaths in 2014. See table below with annual statistics from 2010 to 2017. Since 2014 annual deaths have been declining.

Year Total admissions to NICU Total number of deaths
2010 1173 157
2011 1171 139
2012 1206 97
2013 1128 137
2014 Figure being verified 295
2015 834 232
2016 897 104
2017 1063 101

GPHC wishes to clarify that the total number of deaths for January 1 to June 30 2018 is NOT 119.   This is a misrepresentation of the facts.

As is clearly shown in the table above, the total number of deaths in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has decreased significantly by an enormous 55.1% from 2015 to 2016 and continues to decrease.

Again the GPHC reiterates that the life of every baby and every patient in its care is important and will continue to do everything possible to ensure that it improves the delivery of health care services which it provides.