Hela joins project designed to prevent childbirth fatalities

Hela joins project designed to prevent childbirth fatalities

  With thanks to,  The National

HELA has joined two other provinces in introducing the “Saving Lives – Spreading Smiles” project designed to prevent childbirth fatalities.
The project was launched in Koroba recently and those attending included Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis.
The Australian government is funding the roll-out of the project, which was earlier launched at the Parliament State Function Room following a successful pilot project in Eastern Highlands and Port Moresby General Hospital.
The project equips health workers with the appropriate skills to manage the most common maternal and newborn illnesses and to provide referral services for sick mothers and newborns.
At the provincial level, a special care nursery and “kangaroo” mother care unit will be established to provide specialized care to sick babies. All 32 health facility staff in Hela will be trained and equipped to manage sick mothers and newborns.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) is spearheading the project. Its country representative, David McCloughlin, said: “At the community level, we will train and equip village health volunteers (VHVs). There will be around 100 in each district. We have trained 20 VHVs who are operating now. Their duties include health promotion, preventive and managing referrals cares to higher centers.”
McCloughlin congratulated the Hela health authority for launching the programme.
He said funding support from the Australian government would ensure that more than 150,000 newborns and their mothers received a comprehensive package of care to ensure they survived and thrived. This includes more than 9800 mothers and their newborns in Hela.
He said far too many babies died within the first month of their lives when they were most vulnerable.
“An underlying cause of these deaths is neonatal hypothermia or low temperatures in babies in the Highlands areas,” he said.

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