by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea’s maternal health is a complex health challenge with the highest maternal mortality rate in the Pacific.
With the challenging geographical setting of the country, accessibility to better health services has been, over the past years, a challenge for many lives especially those located in the remote parts.
This contributes to the struggles many women face during pregnancy and at childbirth, and often, many lose their lives while searching for the needed service.
In a published article by George Eccles on Maternal Health in Papua New Guinea, inaccessibility to adequate maternal health care facilities and lack of socio-cultural awareness on the difficulties women undergo during pregnancy and childbirth are primary obstacles to reducing maternal mortality for the country.
And today, maternal mortality issues still remain a challenge for the service providers and those vocal in addressing it.
The signed agreement will see the two organisations work alongside to provide strategic maternal health services to help those in need.
Designated districts that will benefit from this initiative includes Kikori in Gulf province; Tari-Pori in Hela Province and Nipa-Kutubu in Southern Highlands Province.
Together with each provincial health administrators, both partners will support to provide the needed services to see progressive results of improvement in maternal health.
The proposed services to implement and carry out includes establishing service delivery outlets; provide estimated 5,200 family planning services both for male and female clients; develop the capacity of the local health workforce and the training and mentor-ship for 30 front-line clinical staffs.
With this delivery strategy plan in hand, the outcomes projected should see improvement in child health, women and children to gain better knowledge and education, and to also see an increase in employment opportunities for women.
The initiative is a good opportunity to help educate women, men and children on the importance of maternal health and how it can help to reduce the country’s high mortality rate.
When commending the Oil Search Foundation for funding the programme, Marie Stopes PNG Country Director, Maarten van de Reep, said improving access to family planning services is an important drive and step to reducing the country’s high maternal mortality rate.