JIS News

Jamaica continues to enjoy a high life expectancy rate, which surpasses that of most developing countries, including Brazil and Peru and the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts and Nevis.
This is contained in the 2005 Human Development Report published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Health Minister, Horace Dalley, in his contribution to the 2005/2006 Sectoral Debate on Tuesday (Sept. 12) in the House of Representatives, said that the report found that while the challenges of HIV/AIDS and violence have resulted in a reduction of life expectancy from 74 to 70.8 years for Jamaicans, the island still placed ahead of a number of developing countries including Brazil, where the life expectancy is 70.5 years; Nevis and St. Kitts, and Peru, 70 years; Trinidad and Tobago, 69.9 years; and the Dominican Republic, 67.2 years.
“According to the report, Jamaica is ranked above the average life expectancy of developing countries, which stands at 65 years,” Minister Dalley said.
Turning to the Human Poverty Index, which measures deprivation in the three basic dimensions – knowledge, decent standard of living and long, healthy life – Mr. Dalley said Jamaica was ranked 21st of 103 developing countries, and was one of four CARICOM countries in the top 25 of the Index.
Highlighting an area in which the local health sector has made strides, the Minister told the House “we can be proud of our immunisation record that provides our children with protection against 10 childhood diseases. This promotes their healthy growth and development; and prevents hospitalisation and deaths from these infections.”
A survey initiated by Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) in 2004, revealed that Jamaica’s immunisation coverage stood at 96.1 per cent for babies aged 12 to 24 months.
On the issue of the screening of pregnant women at ante natal clinics for anaemia and sexually transmitted infections, Minister Dalley reported that a 78 per cent success rate was achieved. Meanwhile, a 90 per success rate was realised in respect to the screening and treatment of these women ante natal clinics for prevention of transmission of HIV/AIDS.
Regarding the country’s mortality rate for children age five years and under, he told the House that the figure now stood at 28.5 per 1,000 persons, while in the case of the maternal mortality ratio, it was 95 per 100,000 persons.
“Admittedly, we have work to do to reduce the infants and maternal deaths to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of 9/1,000 live births and Maternal Mortality Ratio of 25/100,000 live births by 2015,” Minister Dalley remarked.