Health Officials Put Importance on Maternal and Neonatal Care

neonate congress

In Belize, like most other countries, the health and survival of women and their newborn babies during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period is of key importance.  On this premise, the Ministry of Health in Collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund and the Belize Medical and Dental Association is hosting the 32nd International Pre-congress.  Dr. Francisco Martinez Guillen (GUI-YEN) a Pediatrician and Neonatologist from Nicaragua is the facilitator. He spoke on some of the issues impacting maternal and neonatal care in Belize.


We have a lot of obesity and overweight and pain and before pain.  We have some increases in diabetic disease and hypertension and preeclampsia has a lot of trouble in our pregnant Latin American and Caribbean countries.  So we need to change this kind of struggle; we need to reduce this kind of trouble in our pregnant women and the consequence in the new born baby.”

Dr. Jorge Polanco, Deputy Director of Health Services, explained how the pre-congress hopes to address the issues of maternal and perinatal morbidity.


What we will be doing today is sharing an assessment that was done about four weeks ago.  Doctor Martinez was here he made an assessment of what is our capacity in regards to service delivery for the new natal for neonates.  So we will share that; if you notice the room is basically the nurses and some doctors who work in the outpatient setting and that is one of the objectives to share this assessment.  This event will also be an opportunity to look at gaps that need to be strengthened; we have been putting a lot of efforts in the prenatal care.  Everyone knows that poor nutrition in the mother will have a direct impact on the health of that new born that could lead to low birth rate that could lead to prematurity.  Nutrition is just one; we have other issues such as difference in micro nutrients within the ministry.  We have established a system whereby every pregnant woman gets all the micro nutrients that she needs during pregnancy.  After this event then this will become a milestone for us to strengthen within the ministry at a national level to look at policies to look at gaps and how we can address them.”

According to Polanco the purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the case of a large number of newborns dying, as occurred at the Karl Heusner in May of this year, does not recur.


That’s precisely one of the underlying objectives, to see what can be done at the community level, at the moment of the delivery and post-delivery to those units, to able to address specifically those risks because they are in risk inherent to the product.  When that child, when that neonate is born he is already born with those risks; this is what we want to mitigate during this prenatal stage.”

The participants in the pre-congress are persons who work on the frontline such as clinicians, public health nurses and midwives.