Ministry of Health is reporting that it has signed contracts valued at $243-million to improve care for premature infants and high-risk pregnant women.

The funds are coming from a ‎€22-million programme to reduce maternal and child mortality, funded by the European Union.

According to JIS news, Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson says a $36.5-million contract will be signed to design maternal and neonatal high dependency units at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Spanish Town Hospital and St. Ann’s Bay Hospital.

Twenty-seven million is being provided to design similar units at Victoria Jubilee, Mandeville Regional and Cornwall Regional Hospitals.

Another $66-million is earmarked for ambulances and equipment for the neonatal unit at Mandeville Regional.

While $13-million is assigned for testing equipment at four primary care centres and two community hospitals.

Dr. Ferguson says the Ministry is making arrangements to procure equipment for ten other neonatal units, at a cost of $358-million.

The project is expected to add 45 new beds to neonatal units across the country.

It also includes rehabilitating the entire delivery area and maternal-foetal clinic at Victoria Jubilee.

The contracts are expected to be signed on November 8.

The Health Minister says doctors and nurses are being trained to offer the upgraded services, including 21 candidates to be trained over the next few years in neonatology, maternal foetal medicine, and critical care.