Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eight women die each day in PNG through pregnancy and child birth complications

Eight women in PNG die every day through pregnancy and childbirth complications.
This was revealed by Ms. Jelilah Uniah who is the Program Manger of Pathfinder International at Divine Word University’s CHIDS forum in Madang a couple of weeks ago.
CHIDS which stands for Contemporary Health Issues and Development Strategies is a forum created by the Health Management Department of Divine Word University as a venue for partnership building and collaboration amongst service delivery organizations and development agencies in Madang province to address health and development issues that currently have an impact on PNG’s socioeconomic and development status.
The theme of the forum was 'Population control strategies: Realising Vision 2050 through Family Planning Approaches' and Ms. Uniah, being the guest speaker, presented a powerpoint slide highlighting this disturbing fact that high risk of maternal death still plagues women in Papua New Guinea.
She said: “Eight women die in PNG each day. In Madang District alone, 480 mothers have died last year with 12 mothers reported to have died at the Modilon General Hospital. What about those which are not reported?
“Most women in PNG don’t have access to family planning services meaning they don’t have access to contraceptives thus they have very little choice in regards to family planning. “Even if they have access to the contraceptive, the church, relatives or even husband refuse its use.
“Because of this, they have unplanned pregnancies and this puts them at great risk of death pregnancy and childbirth complications.
She also called on the Government to fund family planning programs in the country saying that i the government was serious about acheiving MDGs and Vision 2050, they had to fund this vital area of health.
I thought about what she said about mothers dying when trying to give birth and know that this is one of the great tragedies of our country. Statistics are just numbers but for every mother that dies there is another child that will go through life without another parent. I have witnessed a mother giving birth on the side of the main road in Lae, I have seen government maternity wards that have holes on the floor, I have seen two women loose their newborn in the space of just a few hours just becasue there is no gynacologist available at this major referral hospital and I know that it is common throught this country that women give birth on the floor in public hospitals in this country. What a sad scenario we have in this great country of ours!
Family Planning approaches, whatever opinion someone may have of it, has its merits and can surely save lives.
Pregnancy and childbirth are a time for great joy, reflection and happiness but this public health issue contiunues to put us all into misery.