Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | October 13, 2009
Home : News
Increase focus on pregnant women's health, says official


Chief Medical Officer Dr Sheila Campbell-Forrester has highlighted the need for an increased focus on the health of pregnant women, especially in light of the expectation of a second wave of the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

Pregnant women are among the persons who fall within high risk for complications from influenza A (H1N1) that can lead to death.

Campbell-Forrester, who was speaking at a Victoria Jubilee Hospital Symposium held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Sunday, said clinicians and specialists need to be more vigilant at this time and keep influenza A (H1N1) in mind when a pregnant woman visits health facilities.

Second wave

She said, "a second wave is expected and will have worse consequences in young people, pregnant women and persons with underlying chronic diseases. It has been shown that early intervention and treatment with Tamiflu can make all the difference in mortality and severity of the illness."

Campbell-Forrester added that the Ministry of Health has put in place a number of measures as part of its 'Safe Motherhood' strategic plan to improve the health of pregnant women and infants. As part of this, she said, "we have sought the support of the community in recognition that we all need to play a role in ensuring the health of the woman during pregnancy."

She said the ministry is also working to improve the equipment and facilities available to health facilities and increase training for midwives to address the 47 per cent shortage. In addition, a manual to assist in the surveillance of maternal deaths has been completed and another which outlines obstetric emergency guidelines has been created.

Safe Motherhood provides the framework for achieving a marked reduction in maternal and infant deaths. Jamaica is working towards moving from the current ratio of 95 deaths to 100,000 live births to 25 deaths to 100,000 live births by 2015 as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

Home | Lead Stories | News | Business | Sport | Commentary | Letters | Entertainment | The Shipping Industry | Lifestyle |