by Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Port Moresby
Maternal Mortality in Papua New Guinea has risen dramatically since 1996.
Marie Stopes PNG, a Non- Governmental Organisation, has made great progress in increasing the availability and accessibility of family planning.
Statistics have shown that services provided by MS PNG in 2014, have prevented more than 47,000 unwanted pregnancies, which reduces the risk of pregnancy-related deaths by 32%.
According to Marie Stopes PNG’s 2014 Annual Report, Papua New Guinea continues to have some of the poorest health outcomes in the Asia Pacific Region.
This is particularly in terms of maternal and child health, and sexual and reproductive health indicators.
Every day, almost 1 million PNG women are at risk of having an unwanted pregnancy, and at least 30 women lose their lives during childbirth.
Since 1996, maternal mortality has been extremely high in PNG, and unfortunately, the situation has not improved.
Before the age of 20, 22% of teenagers have had at least one child, and many drop out from high school and marry at a very young age.
Multiple, unplanned and successive births among young women has significantly increased the risk of pregnancy related deaths, and the risk of their children dying before the age of five.
PNG’s contraceptive prevalence rate has also remained low, and the interest of individuals or couples in receiving family planning has decreased due to shortage of skilled providers.
Last year, MS PNG significantly scaled up its operations.
With its presence in 11 provinces of PNG, it has prevented 255 deaths; 1,109 unsafe abortions; and 47,562 unwanted pregnancies.
They are working closely with the Health Department and the department of National Planning to improve the health outcomes of PNG.