Maternal health a ‘challenge’

Health Watch

THE high maternal and infant mortality rates in the country remains a challenge, according to the Oil Search Foundation.
Women die every day in PNG from the complications of childbirth often because they are not attended to by health workers.
In Hela, the health authority, working with the Oil Search Foundation and other partners, tried to improve ante-natal care and urged women to have a supervised labour.
Hela health authority chief executive officer Dr James Kintwa said they wanted to see more women having supervised delivery and encourage pregnant women to have routine checks.
“Working with partners such as OSF to change this situation, the Hela health authority should also improve the poor state of some facilities,” he said.
“We renovated and built new maternity wards and birthing rooms, bought delivery beds and made sure water and power supplies are connected and working.
“There was also the need to train community health workers on basic and emergency obstetrics care, using the midwifery up-skilling programme, a curriculum approved by the PNG society of obstetrics and gynaecology to fill the midwifery skills capacity gaps in health facilities.
“As a result, 13 community health workers from nine remote facilities in Hela were trained and are now supporting women to have healthy pregnancies and safe births.”
Hangapo health centre health worker in Tari Kency Terrance said “we are now equipped with the right knowledge and skills to support women through their pregnancies and reduce the risks of unwanted deaths of mother and baby”.