Kingston, Jamaica. October 27, 2022. Opposition Spokesperson on Health and Wellness, Dr. Morais Guy, MP, says he was shocked and disappointed upon hearing the latest news regarding the death of twelve (12) babies at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital as a result of an apparent outbreak of the Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacteria.
The Opposition Spokesperson said it is even more alarming and upsetting that Minister of Health Dr. Christopher Tufton knew of the deaths but decided to hide the information from the public. "Information such as this should not be embargoed indefinitely from the public because it does not fit into the matrix of one's political career," Dr. Guy remarked.
According to the information already known, seven (7) babies died in July, two (2) in August, another two (2) in September and one (1) reported for the month of October. Dr. Guy said this was a gross dereliction of duty and called upon Dr. Tufton to give the country a full explanation of the latest dead babies saga afflicting the country's premier maternity institution, the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
"He must tell us how many babies died, what the parents were told, and whether they were offered any post-traumatic psychotherapy and support", Dr. Guy stated.
The Opposition Spokesperson said he expects Dr. Tufton to break his silence on the issue, go beyond the "soundbite" already offered to a segment of the media and provide the nation with the facts and measures taken to mitigate the situation. Every expectant mother who enters the institution must feel confident in the quality of the service delivery and that no harm will be inflicted upon them and their new-born.
The Opposition Spokesperson stated further that he is considering tabling additional questions to the Minister in parliament because the country needs to know what transpired and whether the danger has fully dissipated.
Dr. Guy said the emerging information indicates that Dr. Tufton had known since July 2022, when seven (7) babies died due to their exposure to the Klebsiella bacteria but kept silent. It is incredibly disheartening that even after twelve (12) babies died and a history of babies dying, the Minister of Health - the custodian of the sector on behalf of the people, still decided to keep it a secret; were it not for a “whistleblower”, he would have remained steadfast in his silence.
"I can only consider the Minister's silence as an additional source of pain to the young mothers whose babies died in these circumstances and are forced to live with the tragedy for the rest of their lives," he contended.
Dr. Guy offered his sympathies to the grieving mothers and families on behalf of the Parliamentary Opposition and the nation.