BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday February 11, 2019 – The Ministry of Health and Wellness has expressed concern about the declining birth rate in Barbados over the last decade.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George says that since 2007 Barbados has recorded a 15 per cent decline in births, with a drop from 3,258 births in 2007 to 2,346 births in 2017.
Describing the situation as “worrying”, he said: “Declining birth rates, coupled with an ageing population, will have a significant impact on our ability to project for the future requirements of national development.”
Because of this, Dr George said, the Ministry of Health and Wellness would be starting a national dialogue on the issue.
The pursuit of a national solution, he explained, would involve a multi-sectoral approach, including ministries and agencies such as the Ministries of Youth and Community Empowerment, Finance and Economic Affairs, and People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, and the National Insurance and Welfare Departments.
The Chief Medical Officer also revealed that funds had been allocated for the implementation of a national plan of action on neonatal health in Barbados. He said that plan would provide for strengthening and investment in antenatal care, support for safe and incident-free childbirth and quality medical care in the first four weeks of an infant’s life.
“The way forward in improving perinatal and neonatal care in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean seems to lie in improving the quality of care, which can be achieved by providing training for staff in neonatal intensive care methods,” Dr George said.