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More funding needed for maternal health care in the Pacific

22 February 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell - ruci.farrell@pmn.co.nz

A Pacific health scholar says an extra $7M in aid from New Zealand to stop newborn deaths in the Pacific is welcome, but a bigger solution is required.

Photo/ Financial Express.

Head of Pacific Health at the University of Auckland, Dr. Teuila Percival says the extra funding will help save newborns in Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

However she says the Pacific still lags behind in funding, resources and policy focus for mother and child health, because it's not seen as a priority.

"A huge area for us to think about is how do we train a workforce when you have very few doctors and nurses and midwives?," she says. "You're going to have to rely on people like village workers and train them up to look after babies and save children's lives."

Dr. Teuila Percival. Photo/ Australian Institute of Criminology.

The new funding comes on the back of a United Nations report showing the world is failing newborns.

It shows Papua New Guinea and Kiribati have the highest newborn mortality rates, averaging 23.5 deaths per 1000 births. 

Tags: health, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati,