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The Port Moresby General Hospital Labour Ward yesterday received 40 pieces of lifesaving obstetric equipment - The Midwifery Kit - courtesy of the United Nations Population Fund Country Office in Papua New Guinea as part of its mission to ensure every child delivery is safe and there are zero preventable maternal deaths in the country.

The Midwifery Kits contain 32 essential items including a stainless kidney basin, plastic draw sheet, infant scale, and thermometers that a midwife and other health workers use to provide a safe delivery and care of mother and baby during delivery and postpartum period.

According to Country Representative Ms. Marielle Sander, UNFPA, as a close partner to the National Department of Health, puts the health of women and newborn babies first. When Port Moresby General Hospital asked for help, UNFPA was able to respond immediately by donating these midwifery kits.

“Sexual and Reproductive health and safety of our mothers and daughters is neglected in the country, especially in the rural areas. With this donation of sterile midwifery equipment, we can ensure a significant contribution towards lowering the risk of infections, which remains one of the major causes of complications amongst post-natal women and new born babies “ Ms. Sander said.

“UNFPA prioritizes the health of pregnant women and newborn babies especially during life-threatening complications during childbirth and with these kits, we hope to assist health facilities and midwives to make their job a little easier.”

UNFPA has 615 midwifery kits prepositioned and to be delivered to the 22 Provincial Health Authorities in the country. The procurement of these items was done in partnership with the National Department of Health - through the directorate of family and population health. A distribution list was developed based on how many newborn deliveries were done per year, determining the number of kits a health facility was to receive. Accurate record keeping of births is critical to ensuring distribution of these kits where they are needed.

Procurement and provision of the 615 Midwifery Kits costs USD$105,000 (PGK 370, 121), an approximate of PGK 602 for one kit. In receiving these much needed Midwifery Kits, Sister Mary Sitaing, who manages the Port Moresby General maternity ward and who is also Acting President of PNG’s Midwifery Society, expressed her
gratitude towards UNFPA for the donation.

“The POMGEN labour ward conducts approximately 1,200 deliveries per month, and as I speak we have run out of these essential items. With limited equipment and delivery packs, work becomes very difficult - especially when we have an influx of mothers coming to deliver at the same time,” Sr. Mary Sitaing said. “Without adequate sterilized equipment, we have noted an increase in mother and newborn infections at the postnatal ward, especially this year and the last year, due to staff using one delivery tray between more than one mother causing cross infections.”

“This situation could have been prevented if there were enough lifesaving equipment including medical drugs and supplies available within the birthing facilities”, says Sr Mary. “We thank UNFPA for this partnership in ensuring the quality care of mothers and newborn during labour and post delivery.”

About the Midwifery Kit

Most rural health facilities in the Country have limited basic and lifesaving equipment and at times the available equipment is malfunctioning. The United Nations Population Fund recognizes the challenges faced by midwives in health facilities and has assisted the National Department of Health to procure Midwifery Kits. Each kit contains 32 essential items that are used in the Labour and Postnatal Wards. UNFPA procured a total of 615 midwifery kits at a cost of PGK 370,121. The target was all 22 Provincial Health facilities. This was done in collaboration with the National Department of Health - the Family and Population Health Directorate. To date some of the kits have already been distributed to the targeted provinces with more ready for distribution.