Health Ministry underscores importance of MICS survey findings Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has underscored the importance of the Jamaica Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2022: Situation of Women and Children findings.

In addressing Friday’s launch at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in St Andrew, Director of Health Services Planning and Integration in the ministry, Dr Naydene Williams, said MICS assists with the monitoring and evaluation of health programmes and policies.

“It’s a major source of information to track progress towards the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by providing data on 30 indicators; and the survey will monitor progress towards achieving relevant goals under Vision 2030 (Jamaica), as well as to inform the National Sustainable Development Plan,” she explained.

Williams shared that MICS 2022 will help the ministry to identify populations at risk, and inform policy decisions as public health seeks to address risk factors that may affect the burden of disease.

Regarding the survey’s major findings, the director said progress has been made towards increasing Jamaica’s exclusive breastfeeding rate.

“In 2022, Jamaica had an exclusive breastfeeding rate of infants less than six months of age, of 33 per cent. That is a nine percentage points increase over 2011. However, this data suggests that Jamaica is not on track to meet the global target of 2025 of an exclusive breastfeeding rate of higher than 50 per cent. However, it is hoped that we will in fact be able to catch up beyond 2025, and up to 2030,” she shared.

Williams further indicated that MICS 2022 reported improvement in the proportion of children, ages six to eight months, to whom solid, semi-solid or soft foods were introduced, from 54.6 per cent in 2011, to 86.3 per cent in 2022.

There was also an improvement in the proportion of children aged six to 23 months who received the minimum number of meals per day based on their age, moving from 42 per cent in 2011, to 61.7 per cent in 2022.

Williams noted that strategies have been implemented by the Health Ministry to improve infant and young child feeding practices. These include the baby-friendly hospital initiative in both public and private institutions, a communications strategy for infant and child feeding, the establishment of community infant and young child feeding support groups across parishes, training of healthcare workers, workplace support for breastfeeding, and the implementation of a media campaign on breastfeeding and complementary feeding.

MICS was carried out by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) as part of the Global MICS Programme.

Some 7,903 households were surveyed between April and August 2022, and included 5,213 women aged 15 to 49 years; 1,483 children under age five years; and 4,313 children aged five to 17 years.