PNG high fertility rate needs addressing - NGO

8:38 am on 2 March 2015

A reproductive health organisation in Papua New Guinea says the country's fertility rate of 4-point-4 percent needs to be lowered urgently.

Marie Stopes International says the very high rate is concerning, especially given a recent survey that indicates a quarter of births are unwanted and up to 40 per cent are unplanned.

The NGO says almost half of all married women want, but can't access, family planning.

The Service Delivery Director Dr Edith Kariko says they are working with the government to provide better access, but there are also other reasons why the rate should be lowered.

"The average woman of reproductive age in Papua New Guinea is having about four children so what that means is that the more children you have during child birth you are prone to a lot of complications that come along with it. The less children a women has she is less likely to be in a situation that can lead to maternal morbidity or mortality."

Dr Kariko says PNG has one of the highest maternal morbidity rates in the world, behind Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa.

Women in Lae, Papua New Guinea

Women in Lae, Papua New Guinea Photo: Supplied