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Health Ministry strengthens maternal care

March 30, 2023


Introduces ‘Snuggle Nest’ with distribution of care items


KINGSTON, Jamaica. Thursday, March 30, 2023: Sixty mothers at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital are beneficiaries of care items as the Ministry strengthens its maternal health programme under the latest initiative dubbed Start Right.


Among the provisions is a portable infant lounger/bed— the Snuggle Nest, packed with supplies such as diapers, skincare and hygiene products.


“The programme responds to the needs of vulnerable mothers, specifically high-risk, low-income pregnant women to receive them into care,” said Minister of State, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn during a handover ceremony on Wednesday.   


The disbursement at the maternal hospital is the first of a tranche of 100. The programme which was officially launched in January, will later target some two thousand mothers across all birthing sites.   

Its larger context, the Minister of State added, is the reduction of the island’s maternal morbidity and infant mortality rates.


“Jamaica remains committed to reducing the maternal mortality ratio to 70 per 100,000 live births by the year 2030, in line with the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Minister Flynn continued.


The Snuggle Nest, Minister Flynn describes, “is a starter kit to facilitate a safe and secure environment in the neonatal period”. Furthermore, the initiative is grounded in the Ministry’s efforts to support teen mothers and their babies in accessing and remaining in care after delivery as well as decreasing infant mortality from suffocation or strangulation when there is bed-sharing.


The programme has also brought to the public health system, modern ultrasound technology with the introduction of the Butterfly Handheld Ultrasound Monitor into Obstetrics Units at eight facilities. The state-of-the-art device, now being used globally is small, mobile-friendly and can carry out scans at the bedside of patients.


The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) has financed the ultrasound devices to the tune of some US $25,000 Dollars and the Snuggle Nests (with care items from Bailey’s Medical Supplies) at upwards of US $15,000 Dollars.