Belize Sees 28,857 Births From 2012 – 2015

By
Updated: May 25, 2017

The World Health Organization has reported that each year there are about fifteen million babies that are born premature; meaning that they are born before the 37th week of gestation.  It is a situation that health officials are trying to address via public awareness to expecting mothers.  Research shows that the key contributing factors for premature births range from smoking to inadequate prenatal care to health disorders and being either under or over weight.  While sufficient data is lacking in Belize, our Senior Reporter, Renee Trujillo looks at our local landscape.

RENEE TRUJILLO

“In the four year period, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015, Belize has seen twenty eight thousand eight hundred and fifty seven babies born.  When we had presented the number of births on social media, the most common reaction was one of surprise but according to the Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero, it is not at all alarming.”

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

“Well it isn’t because we are averaging 7,000 deliveries per year, that is the norm that has been there for the last ten to twelve years if not more so it really hasn’t spike up that much. It is about 7,000 deliveries per year that we are averaging.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Of the over twenty eight thousand births over that four year period, two thousand two hundred and ninety four were pre-term births.  Dr Manzanero says that the pregnant mothers need to do their part in making regular clinic visits during pregnancy but more so the teenage mothers.”

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

“I think teenage pregnancy is a concern because ideally you want pregnancies to be properly planned and even if they are unplanned that is one of the elements that we are working in the MCH department is ensuring that people seek adequate and timely health care so its very early in the pregnancy that we are hoping to detect you so that we are able to ensure that you have a safe delivery.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“According to a presentation made some weeks ago during the closing of the Ministry of Health’s Field Epidemiology Training Programme, the highest rate of preterm births was seen with mothers ages seventeen to thirty five years old with Mestizo women appearing to be the most at risk.  The date, however, is not really precise as there are issues surrounding data entry in the health system which Dr Manzanero says they are addressing.”

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

“She did mention that we should make the health information system mandatory instead of it being a passive form. I can’t say that Karl Heusner is one of the institutions that most lags behind in terms of placing the data. So the preterm delivery most of those will more than likely happen at Karl Heusner when we are able to detect it in time. So that is something that we are seeking to enhance I believe we have now scheduled training packages for staff at Karl Heusner and I know we have a training officer within the IT unit at the Ministry headquarters whose role is to train clinicians, doctors, nurses and lab people to start using the BHIS. We are working as well in trying to make it more user friendly so there is work in the process so we are fully cognizant of the full potential that the BHIS has if it is properly used. I think one of the weaknesses that we have at the Ministry of Health is the amount of data that we are able to generate but its properly not analyzed so Dr.Nicholas in her study did a descriptive analysis of what she found and make recommendations based on that. We now need to be able to tease that data and go into a further in-depth analysis to find out what are the factors that lead to preterm delivery and also based on that make any policy decisions if they are warranted if we are to curtail this situation in terms of preterm deliveries.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Out of the twenty eight thousand eighty hundred and fifty seven births from 2012 to 2015, one hundred and fifteen were still born; thirteen thousand four hundred and forty nine were boys; thirteen thousand one hundred and thirteen were females and seven thousand five hundred and seventy two were born to women out of wedlock.”