By Staycey Yalo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The first 28 days of a baby and the mother is crucial when it comes to ‘Neo-Natal Mortality’ rates in the country. In Papua New Guinea, 29 newborn babies die per 1000 live births and that is where midwifery skills come in.
Paula Puawe, a course coordinator for Bachelor of Midwifery at the University of Goroka, says there is a need for more midwives in the country.
“Comparing PNG’s growing population of over 7 million, the current record of 800 registered midwives in the country is sad,” says Puawe.
Puawe’s call comes after realizing the continuous lack of support from the National Government towards investing in Midwifery Education. Puawe, who is a midwife by profession, has been coordinating the midwifery courses at the University of Goroka. She says, the provincial government and their health authorities should take midwifery seriously as it is midwives’ skills that are important to save a mother and a baby’s life.
Puawe says the current neo-natal mortality rate of 29 newborn deaths per 1000 live births in PNG, only reflects the government’s efforts in the area of midwifery, as it is the midwives who are specialised in caring for a mother and the baby during the first crucial 28 days.
Currently, there are 48 final year midwifery students at the university, most of whom, have worked in the provincial hospitals and health centres. Some of these students, such as Letty Dennish, have been fortunate enough to be funded by UNICEF.