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Baby-killing bacteria under control

October 29, 2022
Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. (CMC)

CMC – The Ministry of Health in Jamaica says the outbreak of the Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacteria at Victoria Jubilee Hospital has been brought under control.

The bacteria is said to have caused the deaths of at least a dozen newborns at the country’s premier maternity institution.

According to the Regional Technical Director in the Southeast Regional Health Authority Dr. Sandra Chambers the ministry took immediate action after noticing an increased number of newborn deaths at the hospital in July.

“We swabbed the walls, we swabbed the babies, we swabbed the staff, we swabbed the cots and we even did water and soap.”

Radio Jamaica news quotes Chambers as saying that  gaps were identified and several recommendations were made, including  an increase in the frequency of cleaning as well as an increase in how often soaps are changed to prevent the build up bacteria.

She admitted that the chronic shortage of neonatal nurses could have also triggered the outbreak of the bacteria.

While the number of babies being born has increased, there has been no change to the nursing cadre “and so, you have one nurse to be nursing up to eight babies when there should only be doing one or two”, she explained.

She acknowledged that “if you’re moving between babies then sometimes something can happen”.

Meanwhile, the main Opposition People’s National Party (PNP)  is calling for an audit to be conducted at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital. 

Making the call at a press briefing on Friday,  Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Morais Guy said Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton must provide clarity about the unfortunate situation.

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