Trinidad Express / Government needs to do a full investigation into why maternal and infant mortality rates are higher than those of this country’s Caribbean neighbours, says People’s National Movement (PNM) former senator Pennelope Beckles-Robinson.
Beckles-Robinson was speaking to the Sunday Express following a march in Arima, in honour of International Women’s Day yesterday.
Referring to the death of a baby whose head was cut during a
Caesarean section, Beckles-Robinson said while she welcomed an inves-
tigation into the case, there were many other cases where both mothers and babies died and no answers were given.
Beckles-Robinson noted that out of 228 countries, Trinidad and Tobago ranked 74th on the infant-mortality index, and with the exception of Guyana, other countries such as Grenada, St Kitts, Jamaica and Anguilla were better placed.
“Yes, the doctor was sus-
pended in this case but what’s next? What has happened to
women who died before, during preg-
nancy, under questionable circum-
stances? What about the babies who died and no answers have been given?” asked Beckles-Robinson.
“I think we need to understand why our health care is in crisis, why our women and children are suffering and dying. I call on the Government to do a full investigation on what is the root of the problem, what is wrong; why are women going in to have what are considered normal deliveries and babies are dying?”
She noted there were 24 deaths per every 1,000 births and this should not happen when this country is considered the economic hub of the Caribbean, and with an annual national budget of $60 billion.
“Clearly, something is wrong and we have to get to the bottom of it; we need to ask the doctors, the nurses, is it a question of management, is it negligence, is it that people are not motivated, is it a shortage of equipment, what is it?” she added.
She said the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital were built as a teaching facility and to provide health care for all, not just in Trinidad and Tobago but regionally.
She said it was time to look closely at the health sector and determine what was causing the problems that are plaguing it.
With respect to the commemoration of International Women’s Day, Beckles-Robinson said it was a “prophetic” day for her as this year, she will create history in contesting the leadership of the PNM.
Beckles-Robinson said she has always attended the International Women’s Day march once she was in the country, and the fact it was held in Arima this year, her former constituency, was special to her.
On her readiness for nomination day for the PNM’s internal election on March 14, Beckles-Robinson said she was getting a team ready.
“I am almost there. I know they are calling on us for a dry run but I am looking forward to nomination day, and my team is just about ready so from here on, its full speed ahead and there will be an exciting campaign,” she said.
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