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Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says Jamaica has made significant strides in the maternal mortality ratios (MMR), or the number of maternal deaths per 100,000, over the past nine years.
He said data has shown that the ratio has moved from 110 per 100,000 live births in 2000, to 78 per 100,000 live births in 2009.
Speaking in the House of Representatives during the 2010/2011 Sectoral Debate, Mr. Spencer said, however, that there is need for a significant reduction in the next few years, if the country is to achieve the global target under the United Nations Millennium Declaration by 2015.
He also said that infant and child mortality rates are 19 and 21 per 1,000 live births, down from 25 and 28 respectively in 1990, and under-nutrition remains low at four per cent.
“HIV prevalence has appeared to plateau, TB (tuberculosis prevalence), although on the increase, is not significant and malaria is on the decline,” he stated.
He said Jamaica was among other the world leaders committed to the UN Millennium Declaration. The framework, known universally as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), established eight goals, three of which are directly related to health. These MDGs, established in 2000, are to be met by 2015.
They aim at eradicating extreme poverty and starvation, promoting gender equality and attaining universal primary education. Other objectives include reducing the world’s infant mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015; improving maternal health; fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; protecting the environment; and promoting a world association for development.