Cabinet has agreed to a concept document that is intended to lead to a sexual and reproductive health policy for Jamaica.
In making the disclosure, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says the concept paper is in its preliminary stages.
The Minister says it represents the government’s commitment to addressing existing challenges with sexual and reproductive health in the country.
Minister Tufton says State Minister of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, has been tasked with leading much of the consultations and discussions on the issue in the coming months.
It’s intended that the policy will help to bolster efforts to encourage more and safer births locally.
Dr. Tufton noted that ideally, the number of births per mother should be two or a little over two but noted that the rate is currently less than two, which is very low.
He indicated that last year 30-thousand babies were born, with a neonatal mortality of 15 per cent, which is above the standard benchmark of between 10 and 12 per cent.
He says the slowing birth rate will have implications for the country’s labour force and the competitiveness.