WHILE there has been a general decrease in the number of mothers and infants dying throughout the world, the progress has not been good enough for Papua New Guinea, according to Australia’s new foreign minister and former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
“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.
He made this remarks in a statement released from New York yesterday morning at the launch of UN secretary general’s global strategy for women’s and children’s health.
Rudd announced Australia plans to spend at least $A1.6 billion (K4.1 billion) to improve the health of women and children over the next five years.
He said Australia was committed to saving the lives of women and children in developing countries who died needlessly from pregnancy and childbirth related complications and common childhood illnesses.
This spending is part of Australia’s commitment to increase total aid levels to 0.5% of gross national income by 2015-16.
“In 2010, we should not still be seeing women die in childbirth because they don’t have access to a trained health worker.
“We should not be seeing children dying from vaccine-preventable disease,” Rudd said.
“As a global community, we have made progress. The number of women dying from complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34% since 1990. But we can do better,” he said.