State urged to consult stakeholders on birth bill


THE Government has been urged to consult stakeholders involved in maternal and child health before passing the policy, making it compulsory for women to have babies in proper health facilities.
PNG Safe Motherhood Alliance director Catherine Fokes was responding to the Government’s plan to make it compulsory for women to give birth in designated areas where health care was available.
Fokes told The National yesterday that the plan needed to be carefully considered.
“How easy or difficult is it for a woman in the Highlands to get to a health clinic? Does she know where the nearest health clinic is and that a staff is available,” she said.
“Then you have to consider that babies don’t usually arrive according to schedule. Do those health staff have training to deliver babies?
“Do they have training for emergency obstetric care and do they have the equipment to deal with that?”
She said it was vital that the Government had considered maternal mortality to be an important area to address.
But Fokes said for such an informed policy decision to be made, more consultations were needed.
“The Government wants to make informed policy decisions. We know that there are number of organisations that would have dialogue on this consultation prior to any passing of law,” she said.

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