Project to reduce child mortality gets $501m

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The Ministry of Health is to continue the implementation of a project to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health, with the allocation of $501.25 million.

This allocation is contained in the 2016/17 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.

The Programme for Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC) in Jamaica is aimed at the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals Four and Five.

The project seeks to further reduce the incidence of neonatal deaths, due to the lack of access to high dependency care; reduce the incidence of maternal deaths, due to the lack of access to emergency obstetrics care; improve the quality of management of high risk pregnancies at both tertiary and primary health care levels; improve the population health-seeking behaviour regarding maternal and child health; enhance public awareness and understanding of health care processes and patients’ rights; and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Health and Regional Health Authorities.

As of January 2016, contracts were signed for design services for High Density Units (HDUs) in six hospitals, as well as for design services to rehabilitate four primary health centres and two community hospitals and for the delivery of testing equipment and neonatal HDU equipment for the Mandeville Regional Hospital.
Additionally, a contract was signed with the University of the West Indies (UWI) for training of specialised physicians and nurses and a contract dossier developed for the procurement of ambulances.

In-training service has also been completed for the first cohort of critical care nurses, while training commenced for 1,000 primary health care workers, 200 community health aides and 100 nurses in post-basic midwifery and post-basic critical care.

For the 2016/17 fiscal year, the Government will seek to improve newborn care and emergency obstetrics care in hospitals; improve the quality of primary health care services and referral system; improve clinical knowledge and skill of health care workers; and improve support to health-seeking behaviour of the target population and the role of civil society.

The project is funded by the European Union through grants.

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