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Maternal and child health a focus in Papua New Guinea

Cabrini Outreach is improving the delivery of health services in Papua New Guinea, through its work at Malala Health Centre, in collaboration with Catholic Healthcare Services Papua New Guinea.

For people like Ruth*, who lives a days’ walk from the Malala Health Centre in Madang Province, gaining access to basic medical services is difficult. Pregnant with her fourth child, she plans to give birth at home, without medical support, despite having experienced complications in her previous pregnancy. Like many of the mothers in her village, she has already lost two children, one during childbirth and the other from complications caused by malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that is widespread in Papua New Guinea.

The local Aid Post, which delivers health services for people in the district, is currently closed so her children have not been vaccinated against common childhood diseases, such as polio and measles.

Sadly, Ruth’s story is all too common in Papua New Guinea, which has one of the most under-performing health systems in the Asia Pacific. Less than half of all births are attended by a skilled health professional and maternal and infant mortality rates are high. Madang Province has a higher than average malaria prevalence and only a third of children are vaccinated.

Cabrini Outreach General Manager Tom Roth said improving health outcomes for people in Madang Province would make an enormous difference.

“We will make infrastructure improvements to provide a labour ward at Malala Health Centre, with safe and hygienic toilet and shower facilities, that will assist staff to safely deliver babies at the health facility,” he said.

“Our aim is to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths, by allowing for the safe delivery of babies at Malala Health Centre, as well as providing access to essential medications and equipment.

“By appointing a trained midwife to the healthcare facility, we will be better able to identify high-risk pregnancies early on and ensure any complex cases are referred to Madang Provincial Hospital for specialist treatment.

Cabrini Outreach has also developed a program to increase vaccinations for children at Malala Health Centre, which will assist in reducing infant mortality rates.

Mr Roth encouraged people to donate to Cabrini Outreach’s work in Papua New Guinea, to support our nearest neighbour.

“The Malala Health Centre’s catchment area stretches from Madang to Bogia, a region that is home to more than 20,000 people,” he said.

“Funds donated to Cabrini Outreach will directly assist people in the Madang Province, particularly mothers and children, as well as providing vital education and support for local healthcare workers.”

Donations to support the work of Cabrini Outreach in Papua New Guinea can be made at