18 Babies Dead In Ja’s Public Hospitals – The Minister Is Still Talking, So It Is Okay??

Eighteen (18) babies dead and the best that can be said in some quarters is that newborns are susceptible to this kind of bacteria in all hospitals local and overseas.

Can we return to the archives or my earlier posts on the crisis that has been blasted in the media re public health-care?  Lest we forget Dr Alfred Dawes not so long ago detailed the lack of medical supplies and other essentials which no doubt plays a role in the overall hygiene in our public hospitals. It appears that we take all the Jamaican people for puppets and the powers of be are the puppet masters. I find it heart wrenching that the Minister of Health can now give a detailed response as to who is who from ‘fareign’ quarters that will be granting aid etc. What has been accomplished from the Audit that was carried out months ago? What exactly have you supplied based on Mr Dawes findings? The truce that was made amongst I believe three (3) of you, did that entail the bond ‘all for one and one for all? Are we now the ‘three musketeers’? Oh, I just recalled that Dr Alfred Dawes has now resigned some 72 hrs ago and within 24 hrs of such, according to the Gleaner, he declares that all parties have to share blame in this ‘holocaust’ (that is my choice or word holocaust). Can you expand on that?

Quite frankly words are cheap as long as there is private practice. What if Jamaica’s sole option was a public health care system? What then?

The Minister of Health is lost in his own translation of what it means to be ‘head, cook and bottle washer’. No one passes the buck in a government ministry as this Minister does. Why is he still holding the position? If persons below you do not yet realize that the Minister is on call 24 hrs and as such with the crisis  Jamaica’s health-care system is in protocol should be the least of the department’s worries. If a rat is found in a hospital bed, he must be called regardless of the time, much less the death of 18 babies. If that is not understood, then I do believe the Minister of Health should resign forthwith as the country can not get any worse in health-care if we had a Junior Minister as his replacement. Not all medical doctors are equal and I daresay the Minister should return to performing cosmetic surgery in the mouth. If the Government of Jamaica wants to keep a Minister holding a Ministry that MUST never be politicized then any hope we have of a decent public health-care system will be dead as those 18 babies.

This is beyond an embarrassment; I call this an atrocity and an abomination on our Land. If the Minister remains I say shame on the Peoples National Party whose victory at the polls was based on a mantra of ‘people power’.  

Clovis Toons – Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Clovis Toon

Fenton won’t quit – Health minister says he handled baby deaths crisis the best way possible 

(Jamaica Gleaner) Friday | October 23, 2015
Dr Fenton Ferguson: Justice must not only be done but also appear to have been done, and by virtue of when I was advised, I believe that my actions since that time represented what could have best been done.
Persons calling for the resignation of Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson over the deaths of 18 babies at two of the country’s public hospitals will not see that happening any time soon – if at all.
The babies died from infections caused by four outbreaks of the klebsiella and serratia bacteria since June this year at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St Andrew and the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.

Individuals and groups, including the opposition Jamaica Labour Party, have been calling for Ferguson’s resignation or firing, but the health minister has cast a shadow over the renewed calls for his head. He told The Gleaner that evidence was a key factor to consider when coming to conclusions in relation to punishments or other decisions about his future.

“Justice must not only be done but also appear to have been done, and by virtue of when I was advised, I believe that my actions since that time represented what could have best been done,” he said.




According to Ferguson, “The press release from the board of the University Hospital confirms that there was a breach of protocol, and as a result, there was failure to communicate at different levels. When I was informed of the situation on Friday, I did everything that a minister could have done.”

The health minister said a meeting was called on the same evening when he was notified, and another meeting was held with the major stakeholders at the UHWI.

He said he also reached out to the various international health officials at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and received their immediate response.

“I also called the executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency. They are on standby, just waiting for me to say whether to move relative to not just the UHWI and Cornwall Regional situation, but to look at our infection-control system, especially in our hospitals with nurseries, because we’re not talking about the deaths of full-term babies. We’re talking about the deaths of babies that were under two and a half pounds, less than seven months [mature], which means their lungs and other organ systems were not well developed and their immune systems were weak and, therefore, they became far more susceptible to any kind of infection,” he pointed out.




Ferguson told The Gleaner that he sympathised with the families of the babies who have been impacted as he is also a parent.

He pointed out that the ministry, with the help of overseas officials, was doing everything it could to improve the health systems, revealing that two more PAHO experts were expected to arrive on the island today.

Two PAHO representatives arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday and have visited a few hospitals as they investigate and assess the deaths of the babies.

On Wednesday, United Nations representatives from agencies such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) described the deaths of the babies as shocking, painful and horrendous at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum. The UNFPA said it would assess the situation and provide support.

Ferguson yesterday made mention of the €22 million received from the European Union, which will see to the construction of what he described as high-dependence units for the improvement of neonatal and maternal care in the country.

“I think one of the worst things that could have happened in this country, and the precedence I see coming, is for politics to be seeping into a sector like health, and we will pay dearly if we allow this to happen,” he said, rebuffing calls from the Opposition for his resignation.


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