Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, has lauded Jamaica’s achievements under the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC) “As we approach the end of this groundbreaking programme, I am pleased and excited to say the outputs are significant,” she said at the recent opening of the Maternal and Neonatal High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital.
“I take this opportunity, on behalf of the European Union and our member states to commend the Ministry of Health, which is managing implementation of PROMAC. Your work is truly appreciated. We acknowledge that the road has not been easy and that many lessons have been learnt on the journey, which have, no doubt, strengthened the resolve to work even harder to achieve the goals,” she added.
PROMAC is the first major EU-funded project in Jamaica that focuses on the health sector and specifically on maternal health.
The achievements include procurement of six ambulances to improve transportation between health centres and hospitals, training of medical personnel to improve clinical knowledge, and support for public education among women in childbearing ages to improve their health-seeking behaviour.
The programme also included procurement of radiographic and ultrasound equipment to strengthen diagnostic services; and construction and outfitting of high-dependency units (HDU) to support maternal and neonatal healthcare at four hospitals – Bustamante Hospital for Children, Victoria Jubilee, Spanish Town and St. Ann’s Bay.
Ambassador Wasilewska said that the outcomes of the programme are already visible, but will be greater once all the newly built and equipped HDUs start to operate and when there is a drastic reduction of the maternal and child mortality ratios.
She noted that pregnancy and childbirth are essential to the existence of humanity, and “it is incumbent on governments and societies to ensure that every woman has a fair chance to have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery, no matter where in the world they live or their social background”. PROMAC, which will end in November 2020, is spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Wellness under a Government of Jamaica (GOJ)-EU bilateral agreement with funding support of approximately €22 million.
It is geared towards reducing Jamaica’s maternal and child mortality ratios in keeping with the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).