The current economic climate will not stop the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) from improving its quality service.
Speaking to the media earlier today on the hospital’s labour ward, during a presentation of images to the hospital from Smithen- Victor Photography & Fine Arts, head of the department, Dr Geoffrey, Lafond assured Barbadians that despite the challenges the healthcare facility faced, especially as it relates to staffing, the department was making strikes and going the extra-mile to improve its services as it ensured that mothers and newborn babies were comfortable and happy.
He also indicated that as QEH focussed on improving diagnostics, it will be soliciting funds from the general public with regards to purchasing a new ultrasound machine for the purpose of carrying out neonatal diagnostics to detect abnormalities at an early stage.
“We are improving our antenatal [care], expanding our screening programmes to include, hopefully, ultra-sounds for everyone in Barbados. We are trying to improve our care on labour wards so the midwives and doctors are being updated and we are trying to improve training as well,” he said.
Noting that while 3000 deliveries per year, between ten and 20 per day took place in Barbados, Lafond said that within the last decade, the number of live births have decreased. He said he believed that Barbadians were having smaller families for many different reasons, however, the growing trend was not different to what was happening worldwide.
And while many people have been concerned about the side effects to the expected job cuts in the first quarter of next year, Lafond stressed that quality healthcare within the public health system, was still free in Barbados and was opened to all those who cannot afford private care.
“Even with the economic downturn, there will be no downturn in our standards so people can still have healthy happy labours and delivery and still have healthy happy babies. We embrace a feeding community in this hospital so [mothers] don’t have to buy artificial milk, we promote breast feeding,” he said.
Five framed images which shows the different stages of photographer Smithen-Victor’s daughter from two days to 12-month-old will be placed in the labour ward, delivery suite and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital.
Golah Smithen-Victor said she hoped those who saw the images, will take them as a measure of encouragement and motivation to staff members.
“As a mother of two, I notice the reason for encouragement and motivation of new mothers to see the joy of mothering and also to see the fun that could be involved in rearing children. It could be a very challenging time but it can also be a very exciting time. I just want to kind of give them some incentives, encouragement and goals to reach as they raise those children and what better place to do it than at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital,” said Smithen-Victor.
Meanwhile, Dr Lafond thanked the photographer for her donations which he said would not only beautify the ward but also make laboring and the start of child rearing a more wonderful and appealing place to be. (AH)