Research to help save PNG mothers and babies

A new Australian health research initiative will help to lower mortality rates and improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in Papua New Guinea.

Page last updated: 22 September 2014

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22 September 2014

A new Australian health research initiative will help to lower mortality rates and improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in Papua New Guinea.

The Burnet Institute will conduct their Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies research programme in PNG over the next five years, examining factors contributing to high death rates among PNG women and babies during pregnancy and childbirth.

Women in Papua New Guinea are 80 times more likely to die in childbirth than Australian women.

Representing Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the launch of the initiative, the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, congratulated the Burnet Institute and thanked it for its commitment to Papua New Guinea.

“Sadly, too many women and babies are dying in PNG despite the efforts of its Government and other donors, including Australia,” Minister Nash said.

“While the factors contributing to PNG’s high mortality rate are many and complex, the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies research initiative will help shine a light on the challenges.

“Outcomes from the research will, in turn, help drive improvements to local maternal health services and programmes. Over time, this will help save the lives of many women and their babies.

“The Australian Government strongly supports the evidence-based approach the Burnet Institute will bring to child and maternal health in PNG,” Minister Nash said.

The new initiative builds on a pilot project by the Burnet Institute, also in PNG, with a similar focus.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided $153,400 towards the pilot in PNG’s Rabaul and Gazelle Districts (East New Britain) which is focusing on educating mothers and fathers on neonatal care as well as providing information and support to midwives.

Only two out of every five births in PNG are attended by a trained assistant. Of those, one in four was funded by Australia.

Media contact: Greg Doolan, 0433 345 323

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