Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Am I the only one outraged?

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By Lennox Weston 

I read the papers just before Christmas and a simple short story of a young woman, age 20years going to SLBMC Government sole Public Hospital to give birth.  The news reported that the mother died, and the baby was subsequently discharged. 

I waited and waited for several days and now several weeks to see if there would have been some public announcement on what transpired since our health care system has come such a long way that a young woman going to give birth Is expected to have a successful delivery and of course, not die during the process. 

A baby dying during delivery and a mother dying giving birth is a very rare occurrence in most modern health care systems, including ours here in Antigua and Barbuda. Therefore, there ought to be, and there is public interest in what transpired.

 First, to make the changes to ensure whatever happened didn’t happen again, and to provide public education for future pregnant women and their families and other health care providers. 

 So, without any public explanation, any public comments from hospital officials or government Ministers or any public images of officials comforting the family members of the deceased as occurred at Devils Bridge when a tourist lost two family members from a drowning accident, speculation reigns, reducing confidence in the services of the sole public hospital. 

The public is left to speculate without any information as to whether it was a complex pregnancy   or a high-risk pregnancy, whether all necessary specialists and professionals were in attendance to ensure a safe delivery of the child and the safety of the mother and whether there are lessons that can be learned for public health, for other pregnant Mother’s or by other health care providers.

 Young women ought not to die from giving birth and if, and when it occurs, there should be some public explanation as to what went wrong and what public lessons can be learnt to prevent similar situation from re occurring.

The silence is unacceptable. The public must demand an answer and explanation from hospital officials, public health officials, and health ministry officials.

 It has not gone without notice that the correction of the plumbing at the SLBMC has taken an extraordinary long time, making the operating rooms in operable reducing quality of health care at the facility increasing the risk of infection the deadliest factor in post operation care.

We have seen the slow pace of restoration of full cancer care by sorting out the cancer center legal conflict.

The lives of our people are precious. The lives of our mothers and their babies are precious. We expect and demand first world health care quality service and open transparent communication with the public on health matters. We are all at risk without it. 

A young mother died giving birth at our sole public hospital without a public explanation and announcement of corrective actions. This is unacceptable. We all should all be outraged.

Let us fix this, now!

 A maternal death is defined by World Health Organization WHO as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.

WHO has set a target of 70 per 100000 for all countries by 2030 as part of the UN Ssustainability Development Goals. Antigua Barbuda has outperformed most countries in the world but still has some distance to travel to reach the standard in most developed countries.

Antigua Barbuda according to World Bank report maternal mortality rate in 2021 was twenty-one per one hundred thousand100000 0r in percentage terms 0.021 percent of mothers die when pregnant and giving birth. A rare and almost nonexistent occurrence here, which is the precise reason a public explanation is required. 

 Center for Disease Control CDC says eighty percent of maternal mortality is preventable since it is linked to poverty and lack of access to proper medical care. Care by skilled professionals before during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborns.

Seventy-five percent of all maternal deaths occur because of complications with severe bleeding after childbirth, infections usually after childbirth, high blood pressure during pregnancy, complications from delivery and unsafe abortions.

In the USA mental illness and lack of access to proper health care by minority Ethnic groups have resulted in maternal mortality rate like Antigua and much higher than developed countries. 

Antigua And Barbuda cannot allow this hard-earned accomplishment to slip. No woman should die giving life. It is an outrage; the public deserves to have an explanation.

Table of Maternal mortality rate (2021) per one hundred thousand as reported by World Bank 2022 Report.

COUNTRY                                                                       MORTALITY RATE PER 100000

ANU BARBUDA

21

ST LUCIA 

73

ST KITTS

Na

GRENADA

21

BARBADOS

39

ST VINCENT

62

GUYANA

112

PUERTO RICO

34

JAMAICA

99

BAHAMAS

77

USA

33

JAPAN

4

ENGLAND

11

INDIA

97

SOUTH SUDAN

1223

CANADA

11

BRAZIL

72

PANAMA

50

COSTA RICA

22

ARGENTINA

45

NIGERIA

531

SOUTH AFRICA

88

KENYA

530

CHAD

1063

CUBA

39

HAWAII

12

AUSTRALIA

3

CHINA

23

DR

107

TT

27

 

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