The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has voiced its dissatisfaction with the government’s response to recent incidents of maternal deaths and has called on the government to do more to prevent such deaths.
Former Culture Minister Dr. Frank Anthony led the PPP’s charge at a Thursday morning press conference. He said the country continues to move from one maternal death to another, almost monthly, with no improvement to the system.
Over the last six months, Guyana has recorded in excess of five maternal deaths, with the majority occurring at the Georgetown Public Hospital. Dr. Anthony recalled the APNU+AFC’s commitment to working to eliminate maternal and infant mortality during the presentation of the 2015 budget but believes the cases over the last few months leaves much to be desired.
“Almost every month there is a maternal death and the Ministry or Ministers would respond to each one of these deaths saying it is under investigation but we don’t see outcomes of this investigation,” he lamented.
Dr. Anthony said even if there are outcomes, the improvements are not visible and culpability is not disclosed. “We want to know what are the specific things that are being done to prevent the next death, this is what we are concerned about and a lot of people have lost confidence in the system.
He also criticized the government for not being able to complete the maternity ward at the GPHC until now, construction for which began in early 2015 and monies later approved for its completion in the budget.
The completion of this ward was touted by the government as one of the initiatives to reduce maternal mortality. Dr. Antony said overall, he was not impressed with the quality of care being offered across the country despite the addition of almost 100 new doctors in the system.
He also complained about drug shortages in almost all regions and claimed that monies that were allocated in the 2015 budget for drug supplies have not been spent. “This is also compromising the quality of care to general public,” he added.
Guyana just its highest numbers of maternal deaths under the PPP government. The party was ousted from government in May of this year.