7 Aug 2008

Solomons and PNG record highest Pacific child mortality figures

1:45 pm on 7 August 2008

Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have the highest rates of child mortality in the Pacific region with 73 children out of every one thousand dying under the age of five.

In a UNICEF report called the State of Asia-Pacific's Children 2008, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu also score badly.

UNICEF's New Zealand Executive Director Dennis McKinlay describes some of the figures as quite severe and says they represent a very basic level of care available to pregnant mothers and children.

"It might just be a grass hut, it will have a bed in it, perhaps just a board bed, there'll be a few medications and the health carer, I hesitate to say nurse because in most cases they are not trained fully as a nurse - if you're on an isolated island and you're giving birth to a child and there are complications, there's very little help."

UNICEF's New Zealand Executive Director Dennis McKinlay.