19 Aug 2011

Phone technology helps reduce some PNG health problems

11:06 am on 19 August 2011

Mobile phone technology is being used to help reduce some of Papua New Guinea's health problems such as the high infant mortality rate.

Although still struggling with both poor health statistics and rising poverty, PNG is a country which enjoys good cellphone coverage despite the remoteness of its regions.

Ruth Bruce from Kinross Group has been making regular trips to PNG to introduce the health sector to mobile technology which gathers data from remote health outposts.

She says it enables central health officials to find out quicker about medical issues as they happen.

"Rather than the problem getting worse and them finding out two or three months later when it has turned into a pandemic. So it's that immediacy of working with people at the real front of medicine, or medical help, getting the assistance from what, in New Zealand, we'd call the back office. being able to know what's going on, and help them."

Ruth Bruce says the system was introduced in June 2010 in Western Province under the Sustainable Development Programe, and is used in Bougainville.