Aust commits K219m to Pacific

National, Normal

AUSTRALIA has committed A$85 million (K219 million) of funding to improving the lives of women and
children in the Pacific including PNG, Australian foreign minister announced yesterday at the launch of the UN secretary general’s global strategy for women’s and children’s health in New York.
In total, Australia will invest A$1.6 billion (K4.1 billion) over the next few years to improve the health, women and children in PNG, the Pacific and Africa.
Rudd said while there had been progress in trying to achieve the millennium development goals related to health, there was still more work to do.
“The progress has not been good enough for women in countries like PNG, who are 80 times more likely to die in childbirth or pregnancy than an Australian woman,” Rudd said.
Head of AusAID in PNG, Stephanie Copus-Campbell said there would be many practical outcomes for the women and children of PNG as a result of this commitment.
“The Australian government is working with the government of PNG in a number of areas which have a direct, positive impact on the health of a woman and children,” she said.
This funding will be directed towards a range of programmes, including support for family planning, specialised equipment and medicine for mothers and training for practitioners including refurbishing four midwifery schools.
Increasing the skills of community health workers in maternity care, as well as increasing the number of doctors for women is also a priority.
“The cooperative approach between PNG and Australian governments will save the
lives of women and children in PNG who die needlessly from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications and common childhood illness,” Copus-Campbell added.