Saving Money to Save Lives in PNG: Report
4 November 2011 at 11:10 am
The lives of 10 newborn children in Papua New Guinea could be saved every day by basic and cost effective measures delivered by local community health workers, according to a new report from the Burnet Institute and World Vision Australia.
Educational and nutritional measures with regular support for women in pregnancy and childbirth would be expected to save the lives of 70 per cent of the 5300 newborns who die each year in PNG, according to the report.
Even simple measures like encouraging breastfeeding in the first week could cut early childhood deaths by 8-19 per cent, the report called
Improving maternal, newborn and child health in Papua New Guinea through family and community health care found.
World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello says the researchers presented this analysis to the Australian Parliament and to AusAID, and it will also form part of advice to the Health Department in PNG.
He says a stronger Village Health Volunteer workforce delivering the proposed care packages in PNG could save up to 32 per cent of maternal deaths, 70 per cent of newborn deaths and 50 per cent of all child deaths each year if implemented in 90 per cent of rural PNG.
This would rapidly assist PNG to meet its UN Millennium Development Goals to cut maternal deaths by half and child deaths by two-thirds by 2015.
The authors of the report, Dr Chris Morgan and Abbey Byrne from Burnet Institute said "we found that other nations with resources similar to PNG’s, such as Nepal or Pakistan, have been able to significantly reduce mothers’ and children’s deaths through innovative work at the family and community level, and this could be replicable in PNG".
Sue England, World Vision’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health advisor said "The biggest impact could be on saving newborn babies lives. At least 60 per cent of all babies in rural PNG are born at home. Training village health volunteers and families to keep the newborn warm, cut the cord with a clean blade, breastfeed the baby early and promptly recognise signs of infection is essential."
Up to half the lives of the 9000 children who die each year aged under five in PNG could be saved with broad, community-based nutrition and management of pneumonia and diarrhoea, the two biggest killers, the report says.
For more information visit http://www.wchknowledgehub.com.au/