The National, Wednesday 5th September, 2012
THE Demographic and Health Survey 2006 found Papua New Guinea has the highest maternal mortality ratio of 733 per 100,000 deliveries in the Western Pacific region, Maternal Health technical adviser Dr Lahui Geita said yesterday.
Geita, from the National Department of Health, presented a report on the second day of the 48th Medical Symposium at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby.
He said multiple factors contributed to the high mortality ratio in the country, with the low rate of supervised births being one of them.
Geita said according to the World Health Organisation, supervised births were one of the most cost effective interventions to reduce maternal mortality.
He said increasing coverage of supervised births required appropriate services to be available and mechanisms to increase the use of services.
He said factors that would increase coverage of supervised births included:
l Early recognition of danger signs;
l Timely decision to seek care;
l Timely reaching appropriate care providers;
l Receiving appropriate care at health facility; and
l Increased coverage of supervised births.
“Poor knowledge of danger signs in pregnancy or signs of labour can contribute to a delay in timely care-seeking.”
“The antenatal care providers often do not discuss birth and emergency plans with pregnant women, which contributes to the delay in reaching childbirth services when urgently needed,” Geita said.
He said increasing the proportion of supervised births in the country required:
l Improvements in access to quality obstetrics care services;
l Awareness campaigns on danger signs during pregnancy and the importance of supervised births for saving lives; and
l Strengthening of discussions on birth and emergency plans as standard part of antenatal care services.