Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George has said the public need not be too overly perturbed by statements she made regarding a perceived request to get women to produce more babies in Saint Lucia.
Dr. Belmar-George contends that the statement was made as “jestful” comments and it should not border on infringing on the rights of any female as to their choice to conceive children.
The CMO recently addressed the gathering at the launch of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Maternal and Child Health Services. According to Ministry of Health personnel, as Dr. Belmar-George rounded off her speech, she made some “jestful” comments, which unfortunately have been taken out of context.
In a brief statement to the media, the CMO sought to clarify the remarks she made at the event.
Said Dr. Belmar-George: “Just to clarify, the Maternal Child Health initiative is about ensuring (that) healthy babies are born and maternal health in the provision of diagnostic services; that is blood test and also ultrasounds during the three trimesters of pregnancies to ensure that our neo-natal health and maternal health is improved throughout the country.
“And we made it very clear during that launch that this was the main objective of the programme. At the end of my speech or presentation …and on the lighter side, I did make a comment advising persons who had not contributed their two (children) to society”.
The CMO added, “This was taken out of context …my initial statement was omitted by many media houses where I made it very clear that it was on the lighter side and this is not a policy of the Ministry of Health or of the Government of Saint Lucia , to increase the size of your family.
“At this point, we are aware that any such policy would have to be a part of a greater programme to ensure the holistic development of a child, not just during the anti-natal or pregnancy but a lot further on.
“So, I just want to make it very clear that this is not the policy of the Ministry of Health or the Government of Saint Lucia, it was done to lighten the moment at that point during the ceremony. It was taken out of context …and I note that generally, most persons got the joke and it was taken as a joke generally.
“But I do want to make it clear …that a few individuals have taken it seriously, so it’s really not the policy of the ministry or the government at this point. And we really hope that we get the population coming in for anti-natal care and accessing the services that are made available at this time.”