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‘We can prevent maternal deaths’

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

Hazel Brown, coordinator of the Network of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women, says not enough is being done to prevent maternal mortality in T&T.

Speaking with the media at the Women in Enterprise Conference, National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA), in Port of Spain on Monday, on the baby who died at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, on March 1 following a botched C-section,  Brown said: “Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world and in this region the only persons who have higher rates than us in the region are Haiti and Guyana. 

“The Network of NGOs has done a report on maternal mortality in Trinidad and Tobago that we have sent to the UN and the Minister that says they are not doing enough. It is bad and the Minister of Health has clearly not found a resolution to the problem. The problem is not that we don’t have trained people to do the work, it is the way the system is organised to provide the service that is killing the women and children.”

Brown said something systematic has to be done in order to stop the problem.

“The best hospital in Trinidad for women is Sangre Grande because they have almost a culture, a tradition of taking care of people. 

“It is not as if we have to bring foreigners here to show us how to do the thing, we have the doctors and nurses and consultants and everything, it is  just that the system is not organised to provide the service and that is the problem,” she said. 

However, Brown said, the system will not change unless people do something about it and this means more than writing a letter to the editor.

“And the thing about it, there is also a cover-up of the real issue and identifying what  is the real problem because if you don’t know what is the problem you can’t solve it.

“We think the ministry should be taking a much stronger position in terms of the management  and provision of basic things. For example, in Port of Spain General Hospital, they don’t have a breast milk pump and the women who have C-sections, they take the babies and they put them on the ground floor and the mothers are on the second floor and if that lift does not work those women cannot come down the stairs—simple things like that,” need to be addressed.

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