The Government of Dominica is committed to reducing the rate of infant mortality on the island by the year 2019.
That assurance has come from the island’s Health Minister Hon. Julius Timothy.
Minister Timothy made reference to this when he addressed the start of a Surveillance of Healthcare-associated infections workshop on Tuesday at the Garraway Hotel.
The Minister revealed that Dominica’s infant mortality rate rose to 29.9 per 1000 births in 2011. He said most of these deaths were associated with pre maturity and infection.
Minister Timothy said the Government of Dominica with funding from the European Union recently embarked on a project to reduce infant mortality to 10 per 1000 births by 2019.
The Minister cautions that while the rate of infant mortality will never be zero, the Ministry of Health through its health care providers will continue in its efforts to save the lives of premature babies.
“We are trying everything to ensure that these pre mature babies survive. I think we have to congratulate our healthcare professionals at the Stronach ward at the Princess Margaret Hospital for their tremendous efforts at saving pre mature babies”.
The Minister informed the workshop that immediate and urgent attention has already commenced to address the issue of infections among babies, whether acquired in hospitals or elsewhere.
He said a new system for the monitoring of processes and procedures intended to minimize the acquisition of infections has been implemented by the newly formed Quality Assurance Department at the Princess Margaret Hospital”.
This system according to the Minister “has already been showing improvements in the maintenance of the required standards”.
The Minister added that” this new system at the hospital supports the work of the Infections Control Department which has been working steadily over the years to minimize infections and identify and respond to outbreaks where they occur”.
The Minister noted that this week’s workshop will greatly assist these ongoing efforts by ensuring that the island’s healthcare professionals including lab support staff, strengthen their mechanism for collecting, collating, analyzing and disseminating data which is essential for administrators and policy makers to make the best evidence based informed decisions required to meet the island’s infant mortality objectives.
Furthermore Minister Timothy noted that this week’s workshop demonstrates that Dominica and sister countries in the sub- region are taking action on their commitment to reduce healthcare-associated infections in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) world alliance for patient safety.
Dominica along with thirteen other Caribbean member states in September 2007 pledged to the World Health Organization that they would address the issue of healthcare associated infections.
As a result Dominica as well as other signatories is required to take a number of actions including, acknowledging the importance of health care associated infections and to enhance national campaigns to promote hand hygiene among health care providers.
The countries are also expected to inform communities and districts of healthcare associated infections to foster appropriate actions.