During the presentation of Budget 2015 on Monday, Finance Minister, Winston Jordon, said “…we can all agree that no women should die giving life,” before announcing that “over $133.1 million will be spent on the expansion of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) maternity unity, increasing that facility’s bed capacity by 50 beds.”
He also said that ongoing works at maternity waiting homes in Bartica and Lethem will continue, adding that “this year’s allocation will facilitate the purchase of equipment, with the aim of increasing the quality of service being offered at the institution’s maternal and child care facility.”
The former administration had come under growing criticism for its seeming inability to stem the growing number of maternal deaths at public health institutions.
The maternal mortality rate refers to the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management.
Guyana, like many other states, has been attempting to reduce its maternal mortality rate in accordance with the United Nation’s 5th Millennium Development Goal to reduce such mortality by three quarters between 1990 and 2015.
According to a joint-report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) however, Guyana currently holds one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region.
The report showed Guyana as having a maternal mortality rate of 250 deaths per 100,000 live births. This means that despite claims in 2014 by former Health Minister Bheri Ramsarran, that Guyana was “doing fairly well” in its bid toward achieving Millennium Development Goal # 5, Guyana is set to fail in this regard.