Australian funding for PNG nurse training vital as workforce dwindles

A health spokesman in Papua new Guinea says money promised by the Australian government to boost the number of midwives is a welcome relief.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Bob Carr this week pledged 69 million US dollars to fund 1400 nursing and midwifery scholarships in PNG.

Dr Michael Dokup from Western Highlands Provincial Health says the small maternal health workforce is dwindling as many midwives are elderly.

"We don't have a lot of midwives in the country. We also don't have a lot of nursing schools in the country that are producing nurses. PNG has come to a stage where we now have more of a problem especially in the health sector where most of our nurses are approaching retirement age."

Dr Michael Dokup.

Maternal mortality rates in PNG are among the highest in the world.

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