24 Oct 2012

Preventable illnesses behind increase in PNG child mortality rate

2:47 pm on 24 October 2012

An increase in the number of Papua New Guinea children dying from preventable illnesses is being attributed to an historical failure to invest in health services.

The country director for the charity organisation CARE International says on average 58 children out of every 1,000 die before the age of five from illnesses such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia.

Peter Raynes says that compares with six deaths out of every 1,000 in New Zealand and he says in rural parts of PNG, the numbers are likely to be as high as one in 10.

"There has been an increase in population over the last few decades, PNG currently estimated at about seven million people. And basically the investment in health services that was required to keep up with that increase hasn't been there and as a result some of these basic services are not in place."

Peter Raynes says CARE Australia is trying to raise about 200,000 US dollars over the next month to try and bring child mortality rates down.