Safe motherhood in Jamaica: from Slavery to Self-Determination



In slavery, the health of the slaves weren't really cared for. A long as they were healthy or looked healthy when they were bought, it satisfied the owners because they could get the job needed done. While the slave trade was up and running, the female slave maternity rate was low. They could be replaced at anytime so there was no need for them to have children. In 1807 that all changed when the slave trade was abolished. The plantation owners were forced to change their direction and paid doctors to watch over their slaves, especially the women because they could bear children. Also "reassignment of pregnant slaves to lighter tasks during the second trimester, 2-3 months maternity leave after delivery and shorter working hours, and upon resumption of work, breaks during the day." It is interesting that this happened in Jamaica at the time because I never would think that something like this would happen in slavery. Hearing about what happens here in the U.S, there was no such thing as doctors watching over the slave. I didn't even know that it was an option back in the days.Like in Family, they had to learn how to take care of their children and work at the same time. It shows the difference in slavery based on where people lived. After the emancipation in 1838, slaves became apprentices and it made the plantation owner not want to pay for their health care anymore. They felt like it wasn't their job anymore. Instead some bought indentured servants from India and China. The "importation of labour from India and China was expensive" meant that most plantation owners choose between keeping the doctors or loosing money for buying indentured servants.

McCaw-Binns, Affette. "Safe Motherhood in Jamaica: from slavery to self-determination" (2005): 254-261.


WOW! Jamaica? I never knew that they had this type of care for slavery, especially for women. I mean I guess it is true that if they want more slaves, they will have to take care of the enslave women who are pregnant. This is very interesting.

Wow, Jamaica?? This probably surprised me as much as it surprised you. The lifestyle definitely reminded me of Family and how the mother had to fight for the protection of their children.

They are so different. Their society is less harmful on slaves than the U.S. "LOSE MONEY or LOSE MONEY" That what I saw! It is so different for the US, "Get Slaves and NO HARD LABOR or HARD LABOR." This was probably one of the reasons why the thought of slavery started dying down in the US before Lincoln "freed" the slaves.
-May Pa Yang

This article attracted to me because of the Jamaican flag! I liked how you talked about slavery and related to the books in class. Sometimes its good to question our world and society were not perfect at all.

i knew this kind of things happen but i didn't think it was this severe. i guess people will do any thing to stay in power and have power.

i knew this kind of things happened but i didn't know how severe it was. People will do what they need to do to stay in power and not loose money, the most important factor.

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This page contains a single entry by leex6255 published on July 2, 2013 8:54 PM.

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