St John on mission to reduce mortality rates


THE country has a maternal mortality rate of three in every 100 women, an infant mortality rate of five in every 100 births and a snake-bite mortality rate of 1000 deaths per year.
St John Ambulance medical officer Dr Mathew Cannon said these were the major health challenges facing the bulk of the population.
He said a new paramedic programme run by the St John Ambulance was focused on addressing these issues.
“The snake-bite mortality rate in PNG is about 1000 people every year,” Cannon said.
“In Australia, it’s about one snake-bite death per year — and in usually tenuous circumstances.”
Cannon said the first class of paramedics included three health extension officers and six ambulance officers.
The training was conducted by the New South Wales ambulance service, university lecturers and medical specialists in PNG.
“The key objective of the programme was reducing death for common treatable medical emergencies, coordinating and providing maternal and neo-natal transport and care to reduce maternal and infant mortality, improving care and health outcomes for people in those situations,” Cannon said.
He said it included improving health outcomes of patients suffering from trauma emergencies and providing support to rural health centres.
He said they were currently based in Port Moresby, serving Central and Gulf, but would soon move to the Highlands region.

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