Doctor calls on govt to upgrade rural maternal facilities

National

By CHARLES MOI
A SENIOR doctor has urged the Government to upgrade birth units in rural health facilities and to equip them properly.
Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at PNG’s School of Medicine Professor Glen Mola said the Government’s plan to address maternal and newborn deaths by making it compulsory for women to give birth in proper health facilities needed to be carefully thought through.
He said it was important that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill discussed such issues more with local maternity care professionals to help strategise the goal of supervised births to reduce maternal and infant deaths.
“There are about 260,000 births every year in PNG,” Mola told The National via email.
“Of these, about 104,000 women come to health facilities to have a professionally supervised birth.
“But this also means that 156,000 women deliver their babies in their villages without professional assistance.
“If we are to reduce the risk of maternal and newborn deaths, the parts of the health system that the prime minister says he is planning to bring the women for supervised births in (urban) hospitals are already overstretched and many are unable to cope with the numbers.”
Mola said the Government should up-skill community health workers and nurses to provide quality birth care for women in rural health facilities.
He said more doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers should be trained to provide quality healthcare for the expanded rural health service to enable the majority of women to access supervised care close to their villages.
Mola explained that all these required massive capital expenditure in health manpower training and upgrading.

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