Jamaica Embarks on New Programme to Reduce Maternal and Child Mortality
Jamaica will now be closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) relating to the reduction of maternal and child mortality, as it embarks on a new programme to tackle this issue.
The European Union (EU) is providing a grant of €22 million ($3 billion) for the implementation of the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC), which represents the introduction of a new critical care service for mothers and newborn babies in the public health sector in Jamaica.
An agreement to undertake this initiative was signed on Tuesday, September 17, between the Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips and Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in the EU’s Development Co-operation Office, Jolita Butkeviciene, during a ceremony at the Finance Ministry in Kingston.
“This fits within the general pattern of support from the European Union…(These funds) will assist us in meeting our MDGs in respect of maternal and child mortality,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Butkeviciene said in the area of health, while big strides have been made in fighting HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “we still haven’t arrived where we would like to be in tackling mother and child deaths during child birth and also securing access to services.”
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips (left) speaks with Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in the European Union’s (EU)Development Co-operation Office, Jolita Butkeviciene, shortly before the start of a signing ceremony for an agreement for the provision of a €22 million ($3 billion) grant from the EU to facilitate the implementation of the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC). The ceremony was held at the Finance Ministry in Kingston on September 17.
She noted that Jamaica is one of 18 countries chosen by the EU for assistance under its MDG initiative which seeks to assist with addressing challenges in achieving MDGs.
Ms. Butkeviciene said Jamaica is considered as one of the countries committed to achieving the MDG objectives and had presented a very credible proposal in the area of health.
For his part, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, expressed his gratitude to the EU for the assistance, which will greatly aid in the country’s achievement of MDGs 4 and 5, which “have presented their own challenges.” MDG 4 relates to reducing infant deaths; while MDG 5 speaks to improving maternal health.
“This project has come at a very critical and important period. The elements of this project are excellent. ..The question of institutional strengthening, improvement at the primary care level, training and research – all of this will add significant value to the quality of care that we will be able to offer to our people,” the Minister said.