IN JAMAICA: NEWLY appointed Health Minister Horace Dally to meet with mothers of the 19 dead babies tomorrow

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter  Thursday, November 12, 2015  
NEWLY appointed Health Minister Horace Dally says that he will be meeting with the mothers of the 19 babies who died from health care-associated infections at the University Hospital of the West Indies and Cornwall Regional Hospital tomorrow, to offer his condolences.
Newly appointment Health Minister Horace Dalley (seated centre)
greets his predecessor Dr Fenton Ferguson during the signing of
a 10-year development plan for the health sector at the Terra
 Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew, yesterday. Seated at right
 is Harold Arzu, chief of operations at the Inter-American
 Development Bank, which is providing a grant of US$250,000
 to prepare the development plan, while permanent secretary
 in the health ministry Dr Kevin Harvey witnesses the
 signing in the background. (PHOTO: MICHAEL GORDON)
"I'm meeting with them and I am not doing it because of any ploy. I am doing it because I feel their pain," Dalley told journalists yesterday during a contract signing for a 10-year development plan for the health sector. The signing took place at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew.
"I have to console and express my sympathies and my regrets," he added, noting that his team had been trying to locate the mothers to facilitate the meeting. He said that a pastor will be on hand to pray with the grieving mothers.
The death of the babies, which occured between July and October, incited public emotion with calls for then health minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, and his aides to be sacked.
Bowing to intense pressure, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in a national broadcast on Sunday night announced that Ferguson would be relieved of his duties at the health ministry and reassigned to the labour ministry. However, many still believe that the prime minister's action did not go far enough.
Meanwhile, yesterday's contract signing was between the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Under the agreement, the IDB will provide a grant of US$250,000 to prepare the plan, which is to be completed within six months.
Minister Dalley said the aim of the plan is to strengthen the strategic development planning process of the health sector, focusing mainly on the continued roll-out of the Primary Healthcare Renewal Programme and Non-Communicable Diseases as part of an integrated health service delivery. more

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