Unit being set up to monitor births at hospitals in Jamaica after bacterial outbreak

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday October 29, 2015
  A special unit is being set up within the Ministry of Health to monitor public and private sector facilities for newborn babies.


Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson made the announcement following the death of 19 babies from klebsiella and serratia infections at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston and the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.


Overall, more than 40 babies were infected with hospital-acquired germs at the two institutions.


Three top officials of the University Hospital has been summoned to the Office of the Public Defender to answer questions relating to the deaths.


Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse has sought to allay public fears, assuring that measures have been taken to minimize the spread of the infections.


“This meant isolating the babies who were infected, making sure that all new admissions were in a different area; the provision of additional equipment and supplies; the hiring and redeployment of staff; close monitoring of the environment; and the provision of daily reports,” she told the media.


Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has expressed condolence to the affected families.


During the House of Representatives sitting yesterday, she said legislators on both sides of the house would have a feeling of sadness for what happened.


Miller said the future leaders of this country needed to be protected and that the Ministry of Health, “will look at the present system…to see what needs to be done, and that a system will be put in place (to ensure) that what happened will never ever happen again.


The Health Minister also revealed plans for a J$3 billion (US$25.1 million) project funded by the European Union to enhance the delivery of child and maternal health care at public medical facilities.

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