Gray, Robert H.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Child Health
The changing face of paediatrics in the English-speaking Caribbean
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
Childhood mortality and morbidity patterns in the English-speaking Caribbean have changed significantly over the past 40 years. Acute respiratory illness, physical injury and conditions originating in the perinatal period have replaced malnutrition, gastroenteritis and other infectitious diseases as major causes of illness and death in Caribbean children. Although population growth has slowed down, about one-third of the population of the English-speaking Caribbean remains under the age of 15 years. Infant mortality rates have also fallen but the major contributor to this decline has been a reduction in post-neonatal deaths. The decrease in mortality and morbidity from infectious diseases has led to a prominenece of disorders originating in the perinatal period, psychosocial problems and chronic childhood disorders. Adverse economic conditions are held culpable for the re-emergence of protein energy malnutrition (PEM) and pulmonary tuberculosis in some territories. There is an urgent need to focus attention on the areas of perinatal and adolescent health, childhood disability, accidental and non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Immunization programmes also require continuing support and expansion. These cannot be accomplished without meaningful long term investment of financial and human resources in the health and educational services of the region.....