THE Maternal mortality rate in the Papua New Guinea has doubled over the past decade – from 370 per 100,000 live births in 1996 to 733 in 2006.
This was highlighted last week at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office leader’s summit in Hong Kong.
In a brief last Thursday, Health Minister Sasa Zibe said this preliminary analysis of selected data came from the 2006 demographic health survey of PNG which was released in mid-2008 and tabled at the conference to highlight the poor health status of PNG women.
“Additionally, as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to improve maternal health by reducing mortality by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, and achieve universal access to reproductive health, also by 2015, PNG is still showing an increasing trend in maternal deaths with less than six years to go,” Mr Zibe said
He said the report outlined an estimated 773 deaths for every 100,000 live births places PNG, second worst in the Asia Pacific region (second to Afghanistan), while it was very high in comparison to the rest of the world.
The current maternal mortality rate in PNG looked similar to that in situation in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Zibe said the poor health status in PNG must be reversed and called for commitment and support by every health worker.
He said PNG must set up a maternal mortality secretariat to tackle these deaths and related complications.
This body must provide appropriate advice and technical support for PNG to improve the health status, he added.
“It would comprise health workers and development partners,” Mr Zibe said.
“I want the professional advice from both National Doctors Association and PNG Medical Society.
“They are yet to advice me as medical professionals and institutes on these low health indicators.”