Address to the Nation by the Prime Minister Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller ON, MP Sunday, November 8, 2015
My fellow Jamaicans:
You would have heard by now of the changes I have made in some Portfolio assignments in the Government.
The outbreak of bacteria in some hospitals, resulting in deaths of premature babies has caused the families and our nation great pain.
This recent outbreak has caused more deaths than is the norm in hospitals in Jamaica and developed countries.
The Government feels the anguish of the mothers and fathers who have lost their babies. We are truly sorry for your pain and the loss of these precious lives.
Our children should never suffer and it is our responsibility to make sure we protect them and give them the best life possible.
This experience has been especially hurtful because my Administration has done so much over the past four years to reduce the number of deaths of mothers and babies during childbirth.
We have made major investments in improving the healthcare delivery system; but gaps remain.
The Internal Audit of the sector, which was commissioned by the Honourable Dr. Fenton Ferguson, and which the Government has now released in full to the public, gives an indication of just how much work we still have to do in this critical area of national life.
I have given instructions to the new Minister of Health, the Honourable Horace Dalley that every effort must be made as quickly as possible to correct the shortcomings in the health sector.
He has served as Health Minister before and he knows the system very well.
He has assured me that his first order of business will be to strengthen the system of health care delivery, to eliminate the deaths of babies or adults from causes such as bacterial outbreaks.
I have also instructed Minister Dalley to review the reporting structure between the regions and the Ministry of Health.
Every hospital in Jamaica has a management team, including a Senior Medical Officer and Administrators. Everyone must be held accountable.
Our task is to ensure that as much as it is humanly possible, we eliminate such tragedies, which cause great pain to our mothers, families, and our nation.
This is what we pledge as we move forward to strengthen the foundations for progress in our country.
My Fellow Jamaicans:
Government and citizens must work together to create the Jamaica we want for ourselves and our children.
Let us never lose sight of the better Jamaica that we are building.
Let us build our hopes on the many achievements we have secured so far.
Let us be united in purpose and action, to continue to build together our blessed Jamaica, Land We Love.
God bless you all.