4 Dec 2012

Australia announces funding to improve PNG's maternal and child health

7:10 pm on 4 December 2012

Australia foreign minister has announced a 69 million US dollar scheme to provide up to 1,400 nursing and midwifery scholarships in Papua New Guinea.

Bob Carr made the announcement at Mt Hagen General Hospital in Western Highlands Province.

The commitment is aimed at addressing PNG's child and maternal death rates.

Around one in 15 PNG children dies before the age of five, often because of complications as a result of poor maternal care.

Mr Carr says the scholarships at local medical and nursing schools will deliver 450 community health workers, 450 nurses and 500 midwives within three years.

He says the midwives and nurses trained through these scholarships will supervise around 8,000 births a year, potentially saving hundreds of lives.