Papua New Guinea Experiencing ‘Crisis In Maternal Health,’ Government Task Force Says

“Decades of neglect, a failing health system and remote mountainous topography have created a ‘crisis in maternal health,’ according to a government taskforce in Papua New Guinea (PNG),” IRIN reports. “While progress has been made since the taskforce released its recommendations in 2009, some 250 women are still dying for every 100,000 live births, according to a 2008 inter-agency estimate,” the news service writes, adding, “Maternal mortality rates in PNG doubled from 1996-2006, states the government’s most recent national health survey.”

The news service examines the issues of access to health care, child mortality, the decentralization of the health system in the 1980s, and illiteracy in the country and concludes, “The Health Ministry and regional health offices are trying to implement the taskforce’s recommendations with support from [local non-governmental organization (NGO)] Susu Mamas, as well as UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF, said” Caroline Ninnes from Susu Mamas, “which means Breastfeeding Mums in Pidgin, one of PNG’s official languages” (11/30).