Infant mortality rate down
- Dr Ramsammy
- teen mothers account for 22% of deliveries

Stabroek News
January 22, 2000

Out of the 6,235 deliveries at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) last year almost one quarter--22% or 1,400--were to teenage mothers.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that 796 deliveries were by caesarean section and 965 babies were born with low birth weight. One hundred and thirty babies were born before their mothers even reached the hospital.

Chairman of the GPH Board, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, while expressing concern at an infant mortality rate of 28 per 1,000 live births (177 babies) last year, noted that compared to national averages back in the early 90's of 42 deaths per 1,000 births (1992), this was a considerable improvement. He told Stabroek News it showed the hospital was effective in providing a basic service which saw an average of 119 deliveries per week. Ramsammy said that GPH often receives the more complex cases and at a late stage of delivery which indicates that nationally, the average should be better. According to Bureau of Statistics data, in 1998 Guyana had an infant mortality rate of 22.9/1000.

Ramsammy said that the number of mothers reaching the hospital with babies already born indicated that perhaps there could be some improvements by the network of neo natal clinics in educating mothers as to the signs of imminent delivery. He also acknowledged that the lack of transportation at late hours could be a factor which is why the hospital would rather keep an expectant mother from a distant location, at the hospital than send her home.

Ramsammy said that the maternal unit was still understaffed with experienced midwives in short supply.

As to babies born with low birth weight Ramsammy said that some of these may be legitimately underweight. But in other instances, the children's weights were registered based on definitions of what is considered low, from western countries where in general babies mirrored their larger parents. (William Walker)

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples