Three delays contributing to maternal deaths in Jamaica

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Maternal mortality is still a problem in Jamaica, due, in large part, to three delays says maternal, neonatal and infant health (MNIH) rights advocate, Linnette Vassell.

Vassell , who was presenting at a workshop on 'Respectful Maternity Care: Midwives Do Care', hosted by The University of The West Indies School of Nursing, Mona (UWISON) and the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre for Nurses and Midwives in the Caribbean last month, said most maternal mortality deaths are preventable.

In her presentation on 'Respectful Care As A Human Rights Issue', Vassell identified the three delays to which the United Nations attributes maternal, neonatal and infant deaths as: “Delay in seeking appropriate medical help for obstetric emergencies due to costs, poor education, gender inequality, poor access to information; delay in reaching an appropriate medical facility due to distance, poor infrastructure, transport challenges; delay in receiving adequate care due to staff shortage, unavailability of adequate facilities and supplies”.

According to a release, she also made reference to the 2017 death of a baby in Mavis Bank, St Andrew, after the mother went into premature labour and the father was unable to secure help from the police.

The seminar, which was attended mainly by midwives and nursing practitioners, aim to examine barriers to respectful care and identify ways to improve the quality of care given to pregnant families, the release said.

The focus was partially influenced by the WHO, whose mandate is for policymakers to acknowledge the sometimes poor quality of care experienced by women during facility-based childbirth, evidenced in disrespectful and abusive behaviours from health-care providers and other staff to the pregnant women and girls.

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