Montenegro Steps Up Maternity Ward Safety Efforts

A joint inspection by UN children's agency UNICEF and the Ministry of Health begins on Monday in a bid to further reduce infections after the country was criticized for poor conditions in maternity units.

Supported by experts from the Trieste Institute of Child and Maternal Health, a 10-day joint assessment of the safety and quality of hospital care for mothers and new-born babies will be conducted in three major state hospitals in the country - in the capital Podgorica, and in the towns of Niksic and Cetinje. 

"This method of quality control of medical institutions will be applied in the future in all segments of the health system, because we do not want ourselves to assess our work, but to check it out with competent experts, and based on those findings to upgrade the healthcare system," the ministry said in a statement.

UNICEF's first report on the state of Montenegrin maternity wards, released in 2013, said the quality of care for mothers, newborns and children in Montenegro was often substandard, especially when it came to information, communication, confidentiality and holistic care for mothers and children. 

It also said that the clinical tracking is below standard, there is no "basic equipment for the care of the babies", and poor communication between obstetricians and neonatologists was also recorded. 

It further concluded that the privacy and confidentiality is not respected and a very high level of caesarean sections was registered.

The report found that washing hands is not done in an appropriate way and not carried out in most maternity wards, in which there were no proper organized places for hand washing and not enough liquid soaps, disposable towels and antiseptics.

The second inspection...

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