Yesterday, Guyana recorded its first infant mortality for the month of June when a 36-year-old mother lost her seventh child after an emergency C-Section.
Speaking with Stabroek News, Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton explained that the mother had been scheduled for a clinic visit on Monday but complained of abdominal pain early yesterday morning. “When she began complaining of pain her relatives prepared to take her to the Mahaica hospital. Before she could be admitted she lost consciousness and a decision was taken to transfer her to GPHC where she was diagnosed with Placental Abruption. An emergency C-Section was conducted but it was too late to save the child,” Norton said. He noted that the mother is presently critical in the ICU.
Last month two infants died within one week in similar circumstances.
A 21-year-old mother of three barely survived her fourth pregnancy after she suffered a ruptured uterus and began bleeding profusely. The mother survived after undergoing an emergency C-Section but the infant succumbed three days later in the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The second mortality was that of a baby born to a 17-year-old who was left “brain dead” in the GPHC Intensive Care Unit after complications from a pre-existing condition forced doctors to perform a C-Section 23 weeks into her pregnancy. The teen has since passed away.
According to Norton, last month’s deaths were unavoidable as both babies were in foetal distress before their delivery. He noted that the same was true for the infant who died yesterday. Placental abruption has been noted to have positive results for the infant only in cases of early and skilled medical intervention.
Last month, Norton stressed that while both maternal and infant deaths continue to be recorded, the country is doing much better.
“We are doing much better. Infant mortality was once as much 40 for one month but now at the higher scale our average is 10,” he had said.
His observations are supported by the PAHO/WHO Health@50 in Guyana: Progress Health Report, which notes that according to national data infant mortality has decreased from 60 per 1,000 live births in 1963 to a low of 10.8 live births per 1,000 in 2009. This, however, increased to 23.3 per 1,000 live births at the end of 2014. It further notes that the increase was related to an increase in neonatal infections for which control measures were implemented.
Norton also stressed that the ministry continues to invest in neonatal units and trained neonatal staff to address the issue of infant mortality.