T&T: No maternal mortality in 17 months

By Anna-Lisa Paul
Celebrating life and the fact that there have been no incidents of maternal mortality recorded at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital (MHWH) over the past 17 months, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has vowed to continue the fight to ensure this record persists.

Joyous after meeting Evanna Peters, who delivered a 6.3 pound baby girl named Moana at 12.01 am yesterday, Deyalsingh could not help but smile as he congratulated the 20-year-old mother and second-time dad Shaka Cruickshank.

Deyalsingh visited the MHWH and the Port-of-Spain General Hospital yesterday to meet with new mothers.

Cradling Moana as he chatted with the parents who reside in Champs Fleurs, Deyalsingh expressed pleasure at the positive feedback from the couple who spoke of the care and attention they had received from medical officials at the hospital.

The young couple had no complaints regarding the care from doctors, nurses and midwives who guided them throughout the pregnancy.

Jokingly suggesting the baby’s name could be amended to include the female moniker “Terri,” Deyalsingh was flatly rejected in his request to “borrow” the baby after he said his wife had given him strict instructions to return home with one.

Cruickshank, who already has a seven-year-old son from a previous relationship, wiped tears from his eyes as he held his daughter tightly.

Asked to describe her experience at the hospital, Peters said, “Everybody has a different experience and mine was lovely and I thank the staff for that. I had a very painful labour as I started getting pains on Friday. I was admitted last night (Saturday) but everybody was good to us. It was a great help and a relief.”

It was a similar claim by three-time mother Mellissia Celestine, 32, at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital who praised the staff there for the care and treatment.

Like Peters, Celestine was also the lone person to have delivered babies at the respective institutions up to 2 pm yesterday.

Holding Andel Ameer who was born at 1.20 am, Celestine dismissed claims that the level of service and care at the Port-of-Spain Maternity Department left a lot to be desired.

She said: “The care I got was very good. All that is just old talk. I would recommend this place to anyone.”

Already mom to two others aged 14 and 12, Celestine, of Barataria, said she would not be returning to the maternity department as, “I good, this number is the final one.”

Vowing to make this latest addition her “top priority” as with her other children, Celestine said she had no complaints about the clinic staff who had provided invaluable advice and care during the pregnancy. Hampers and other gifts were also presented to the two mothers yesterday.

Deyalsingh said while no country in the world could boast of having a zero maternal mortality rate, he wanted to ensure that, “No mother suffers because of a lack of policy or procedure.”

He added that while there may be the occasional case which was inevitable or uncontrollable, maternal mortality could not continue to occur, “due to a lack of resources in the hospitals, lack of personnel, lack of policy or lack of process.”

offer healthy choices

Meanwhile, Deyalsingh was not pleased to see how many soft-drinks and juices were being offered for sale at the two public health institutions he visited yesterday.

Examining vending machines at the POSGH and the MHWH, Deyalsingh said just as he was seeking to make schools a healthy zone, so too should hospitals.

Pointing to the drinks machine in the lobby of the MHWH, Deyalsingh said he was not against sugary drinks.

However, he suggested, “Instead of having over 20 varieties, let’s trim it down and give water a better space, natural fruit juices a better space, and coconut water a better space.”

The machines were packed with many of the popular soft-drink and juice brands dominating the “eye level” shelves, with water being stacked on the top and bottom shelves.

The minister advocated, “If we don’t do this, we will have to build a hospital in every community.” (Trinidad Guardian)

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