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Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forester, is optimistic that Jamaica will achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) five, which aims to reduce the country’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 75 per cent by 2015.
To achieve the target, the country will need to reduce its current MMR from 95 deaths per 100,000 live births to 25 deaths per 100,000 live births.
“Maternal mortality is one of the sensitive indicators of how well a country is doing on the developmental stage,” Dr. Campbell-Forrester said, while acknowledging that “we are certainly not near our goal.”
She conceded that getting the MMR down to 25 deaths per 100,000 live births was a “formidable” task.
“We have only five and a half years. But if we put our hands, our minds, our hearts together, then I believe we can make a difference. I believe that if we don’t even make the 25 per cent, we should be able to significantly reduce maternal mortality in this country,” Dr. Campbell-Forrester stated.

Proud mother, Jacqueline Smith (L), shows off her daughter, Cardia Ramsay, to (from 2nd L) Chief Medical Officer in the Health Ministry, Dr. Sheila Campbell- Forrester; Acting Deputy Director of the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Jewel Quallo Rosberg; and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative, Dr. Robert Fuderich. They were attending the launch of the Safe Motherhood Programme on July 1, at the Maxfield Park Health Centre in Kingston.

She was speaking yesterday (July 1) at the launch of the Safe Motherhood Programme, at the Maxfield Park Health Centre in Kingston, under the theme: ‘Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby, Healthy Family’.
Acting Director of Family Health in the Ministry, Dr. Yvonne Munroe, said the Safe Motherhood Programme is aimed at reducing maternal mortality.
She pointed out that the major causes of maternal deaths continue to be hypertensive disease, haemorrhaging and sepsis. However, she said HIV/AIDS, violence, obesity, heart disease and mental illness, are increasingly contributing to the deaths of pregnant women.
Components of the Safe Motherhood Programme are family planning, antenatal care, quality care during labour and delivery, postnatal care and post abortion treatment.
As part of the strategic plan to strengthen these components, the Ministry has taken a four-pronged approach, which involves policy, quality care, surveillance and health promotion.
“Safe motherhood is not a dream, we can make it a reality and we all have a part to play,” said Dr. Munroe.