2 Dec 2015

PNG sees improved midwifery

10:07 am on 2 December 2015

A project to improve midwifery services in Papua New Guinea is winding up after five years, and one of its leaders says services are already improving.

The country has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, and the government has been working to address that through projects such as the one to try and improve midwifery services.

Ann Yates is a New Zealand midwife who joined the project when it started in 2011 to help improve the training of local midwives.

She says mortality rates are still poor and midwives are still under-resourced, but says the project has been a success.

"We've got about 600 more midwives that we didn't have in 2011 and that's an enormous start. We didn't actually know how many we did have to begin with. We now know there's about 800, we know that they've had the best training we could possibly give them and we know the majority of those midwives are working in the rural community."

Ann Yates says while the country still has a long way to go, the programme had to end at some point for Papua New Guineans to take over.