“Safe Motherhood: Best Practices for Reducing Maternal Mortality”
The 2ND Annual maternal health symposium will highlight on emergency obstetric care in Trinidad and Tobago
On 23 October 2011, the Trinidad and Tobago Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) country office in collaboration with the UNFPA and Advocates for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE) a local NGO, and the Ministry of Health held a safe motherhood symposium on the theme "Safe Motherhood: best practices for reducing maternal mortality". The second annual safe motherhood symposium and photographic exhibition brought together over eighty five (85) nurses, midwives, doctors and attorneys to discuss current topics on vaginal delivery after Caesarean sections, emergency obstetric care and negligence and malpractice in obstetrics. The objectives of the symposium were.
Dr Bernadette Theodore Gandi, PAHO/WHO’s representative in T&T noted that amidst all the statistics we should remember the profound sadness and loss that accompany the death of each individual woman. In her remarks the PWR referred that the Maternal mortality in Trinidad and Tobago to be—one of slow but showing steady progress. Trinidad and Tobago's estimated maternal mortality rate is 55/100,000 and from 1990 to 2008 there was a 36 per cent decline in the number of pregnancy-related deaths. She further stated that to improve maternal, newborn and infant health in Trinidad and Tobago, there is little doubt that priority should be given to care during labor and delivery, supported by antenatal and postnatal care. Most maternal and newborn deaths happen at birth or within 24 hours of birth, so access and providing of emergency obstetrics and newborn care are crucial.
Lecturer and consultant Obstetrician at the University of West Indies, Dr Mary Singh Bhola called for rational rather than emotive response to maternal death tragedy. She called for a shift from individual scapegoating to a culture of addressing systemic flaws. "We need a national register of maternal deaths, inquiries into each incident and identification of the gaps that need to be addressed," Bhola stated. "There should be mandatory reporting of adverse events and near misses. A root cause analysis has to be performed." She also made a case for systemic reviews and clearer communication with patients surrounding risk.
The other interesting aspect of the event was a photo exhibition which highlighted the local entrants of PAHO\WHO Regional photo competition for the Safe Motherhood Initiative.