RGD apologises

Letters to the Editor

RGD apologises

Friday, December 18, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I write in response to your column in the Sunday Observer dated December 13, 2020, titled “COVID-19 fears cause baby birth record 'muck-up' “.

Firstly, the Registrar General's Department (RGD) would like to take this opportunity to unequivocally apologise to the mother, who encountered challenges in the birth registration process.

We would now like to outline the facts of this particular case, which were gleaned from our internal investigations into the matter.

A letter was prepared March 17, 2020 and sent to all hospitals and birthing centres highlighting the protocols which would be followed in the registration of a COVID-19 mother/birth. It should be noted that all hospitals and birthing centres islandwide have been, for the most part, adhering to the protocols, and have reported no challenges. In fact, several babies would have been registered via this route since the onset of COVID-19.

The protocol currently in place and referred to is itemised below:

1) After delivery of every live born child in hospital, a Notification of a Birth in a Public Institution or Private Hospital or Form D will be completed by the chief resident officer (or by an appropriate representative). Please see section 12(1) of the Registration (Births and Deaths) Act.

2) The child's name must be written on each notification by the person completing the form and the form must be signed by the mother.

3) The Registration officer/assistant approved to be on duty and who is assigned to that hospital(s) will collect these notifications completed by the approved medical records officer. This will be done on a daily basis for public hospitals and twice weekly for private hospitals.

Up to the time of this incident, based on reports received, University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has been compliant with the protocols, in addition to their initiative that is to issue an in-house notification letter to COVID-19 mothers, stating that the mother is now COVID-19 negative.

In this particular case, the RGD understands that there was no notification of the birth or letter of COVID-19 status, which ultimately led to the misunderstanding. Nonetheless, the RGD facilitated the registration after sufficient due diligence was conducted.

Our COVID-19 registration protocol is seamless and, if followed, results in the timely registration of births under these circumstances.

Our aim is to offer the best service to all our customers and, as such, we will be meeting with the UHWI's management to further fine-tune the arrangements. This in an effort to ensure that none of our customers will have a similar experience.

Charlton McFarlane

Chief executive officer

Registrar General and Deputy Keeper of the Records

St. Catherine


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