Infant Mortality High in Remote Morobe

Womenin remote Morobe have spoken out about how poor road conditions are contributing tothe deaths of women and children.

During emergencies, pregnant women are sometimes ferrlied on wheelbarrows over long distances.

Rex Puli, a local community health worker estimates that between fifteen and twenty women die every year from birth complications and preventable diseases.

There’re very few vehicles in this area and to get tothe nearest health center is a twelve hour walk.

Every month pregnant women are brought to a small aid-post. Some gives birth atthe health center while thers don’t make it.

A young mther featured gave birth onthe side ofthe road while she was makingthe six hour journey tothe nearest health center. Luckily village birth attendants who were nearby attended to her.

They cut her child’s umbilical cord with a blade ofthe kunai grass and rushedthe baby tothe health center. The child survived while many have been unlucky.

The statistics come only fromthe villages that have access tothe road that was built bythe communities. For those living in outlying villagesthey’ve come to accept that twenty deaths a year is acceptable.

Ifthe roads were well maintained, it will take at least an hour on a vehicle to get from Lae tothe Bandong aid-post. Ifthe roads were reconstructed, business would begin to grow in this coffee growing area.

Bet after twenty years of neglectthe people have become weary of empty promises.

Scott Waide, National EMTV News – LAE

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