Midwifery training to save lives

Papua New Guinea has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world with 24 babies and 9 mothers losing lives for every 1,000 births, according to WHO standards.


   Many of these deaths are preventable, thus government of Papua New Guinea has now rolled out midwifery courses across five universities in the country to have more midwives available to ensure a reduction in maternal and infant deaths.

According to Lillian Temo, Coordinator of Midwifery Studies at the Medical Faculty of UPNG, the high tuition and lodging fees often hinders many from applying or completing their studies. Thus sponsorship of nurses is necessary.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has stepped in to sponsor a small percentage of nurses who are desire to pursue midwifery. Through a first-of-its-kind program in PNG, the ICRC has sponsored 5 nurses working in Bougainville, SHP and Hela get trained to work as qualified midwives.

Joanne Nanguhori from East Sepik and Jinny Mombu from Southern Highlands, are two of these nurses. 

Their passion to reduce infant and maternal mortality has opened the way for them to pursue studies in nursing, and eventually graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Midwifery at UPNG in 2020.

Joanne and Jinny learnt about the joint sponsorship program between ICRC and the Southern Highlands PHA that supports nurses pursue higher studies in midwifery in 2018.

The ICRC scholarship program was created to support PNG government’s major aim of enabling more pregnant women to access services of qualified midwives to provide quality antenatal care and safe deliveries and contribute to reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in PNG.

Frieda Kana