"Reports show that close to 2000 families lost their mothers each year in PNG."

World Health Organization (WHO) reports reveal Papua New Guinea has the highest maternal and new born mortality rate in the Western Pacific.

The government of PNG through the National Department of Health is taking a firm action now to ensure no women should die to give life.

Reports show that close to 2000 families lost their mothers each year in PNG.

“This situation is unacceptable and no women should die to give life and every baby born is a life we should fight to save”, Health Minister Puka Temu said.

 ‘’It’s about time we do things with a different approach; we have to stop talking about the medical statistical language but the political leadership oriented language that involves all leaders.

‘’While much has been achieved over the last 20 years in terms of life expectancy, challenge remains, especially for maternal and newborn health’’.

‘’Addressing the lack of access to health facilities and chronic shortages of health care workers, particularly in rural and remote areas, and continued implementation of the Provincial Health Authority reform, are key priorities for Health Department’’, said Minister Temu.

According to reports made by UNICEF, every year in PNG about 6000 babies die during birth complications.

This means there about approximately 17 deaths per day due to neonatal infection and prematurity as two of the main causes for these deaths among others.

Statistics shows that Highlands region has the highest number of new born deaths by region followed by Momase, NGI, and Southern region.

These neonatal deaths are directly related to factors such as mother’s age at birth,Birth Interval, Birth order and the place of residence.  

In support to this, UNICEF in partnership with Australian government and other development partners have now introduced several maternal devices that could improve the high maternal and mortality rate that PNG has in the region.

Babi Kilok, Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) kit and Non-Pneumatic Anti Shock Garment (NASG).

Bebi kilok is a  bracelet Alert device that has an audio and visual alert and is worn on the baby’s wrist. It used on new born up to 3 months old baby’s that monitors the body temperature whilst the NASG garments is a low tech first aid device used to stabilize women who are suffering from severe bleeding and shock .

Hopefully with these devices, more lives can be saved.

Moreover the Minister now calls on other stakeholders and partners to take ownership and work together to address this issue as a declaration he made that 2019 the year of immunization.

By Prisca KARLO
March 18, 2019