PNG to look at socio-economic imbalance to improve health stats

5:48 am on 20 June 2016

A health officer in Papua New Guinea says socio-economic problems are the reason why the country has topped malnutrition statistics in a recent global report.

PNG women carrying wood in the town of Kerema.

PNG women carrying wood in the town of Kerema. Photo: AFP

The report, backed by the World Health Organisation, showed PNG had one of the highest rates of stunted growth due to malnutrition and the highest prevalence of anaemia in women of reproductive age.

Helen Palik, a technical officer for Nutrition and Diabetics, said the low status of women and the need for more education are barriers for improving nutrition.

She said getting information to communities isn't easy in a country with more than 800 dialects.

"Many people think that nutrition is all about food, it's all about socio-economic issues or developmental issues," she said.

So violence against women, gender equality, climate change and food security issues are all contributing factors to the extent of the problem of malnutrition we have in the country."