GPHC records low maternal deaths, 303 critically ill women saved

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has recorded low levels of maternal deaths while saving the lives of 303 critically-ill women this year, as the government continues to make significant efforts in curbing the maternity deaths and improving the health sector. 

Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the GPHC, Dr. Rafi Rozan during a press conference Thursday said this year the number of recorded maternal deaths is 10 when compared to 17 in 2021, and 16 in 2022.

Dr. Rafi Rozan, Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department

“In 2023, we would have had 10 maternal deaths as compared from the two previous years. There would have been a decline, seven of which are direct deaths and two of which are indirect and one yet to be classified…Direct obstetric deaths are basically caused due to a complication of pregnancy or a complication in child birth, termination or complication arising from its management…Whereas an indirect death is basically caused by the pregnancy interfering or worsening an existing condition,” he stated.

“We would have had 4,860 deliveries this year, of which 1,569 were caesarian section and 3291 were spontaneous vaginal delivery. With regards to still birth, do note, that the world health organisation defines still birth as a baby who dies after 28 weeks of pregnancy but before or during birth,” he added.

Dr Rozan said that globally there are an estimated 2 million still births every year, one in every 16 seconds. However, in Guyana there have been 54 this year, recording 11 for every 1000 births.

The Every New Born Action Plan (ENAP) is a global initiative advocating for every country to have less than 20 still births by 2030, Guyana is within that goal.

“In 2023, there could have been 303 patients that could have died but they survived. These are considered near miss…where pregnant mothers experience a severe complication during pregnancy, childbirth or within 42 days after delivery, but survive” Dr Rozan said while speaking to the patients that GPHC saved.

Meanwhile, he related that the department has seen massive improvement with how the patient’s case and care are managed.

According to Dr Rozan, caesarian sections are now being done in a timelier manner taking approximately 10-15 minutes to get an emergency C-section case from the labour room to the operating theatre.

GPHC CEO Robbie Rambarran and Heads of the various clinical departments

“With regards to these 10 maternal deaths in 2023, do note that 70 per cent of these deaths were referred to Georgetown public hospital. And of these referrals, six of those referrals were deemed critical and critical is being defined as the need for intensive care unit admission. So, six of the seven were very critical and one was deemed non- critical. The six that were critical, came to the hospital intubated from the other hospitals that were referring, and do note, that referrals are not just from public hospitals but from private institutions as well,” he explained.

The decline in the number of admissions and other improvements, Dr Rozan attributed to multiple strategies that were implemented in the department.

Staffing was increased at the outpatient clinic to facilitate the growing number of high-risk patients and there is increased fetal monitoring.

Further, from admission to discharge a patient is seen by a specialist at all times.

The department will also soon add a specialist in urogynecology, and a new unit for maternal fetal medicine, to give special care to the severe maternal morbidity and life-threatening cases.

Additionally, he noted that there have been significant improvements in the treatment and care of patients in this department which makes up 35-40 per cent of the patient load at the Hospital.