Since the sobering findings of the PNG Ministerial Task Force on Maternal Health in 2009, the National Department of Health has been addressing new ways to improve reproductive hHealth, and maternal health in particular. All their work in this area is focussing on the two interventions that make the most difference to maternal death and disability:
- Family Planning;
- Supervised Delivery with access to emergency obstetric care.
The challenge of providing quality, continues and relevant in-service training to all cadres of health workers, at all levels of the health system, had never been greater in PNG.
The responsibility for staff in-service training, including reproductive health, to keep the country’s 9,000 health workers current and competent resides with the Provinces, but the NDoH were not resourced to meet the demands of the 22 Provinces. The NDoH therefore requested the establishment of a Reproductive Health Training Unit. A Partnership was formed between NDoH, AusAID and Oil Search Health Foundation to establish the so-called RHTU which is now beginning to provide training courses in Emergency Obstetric Care, Essential Obstetric Care and, soon, Family Planning. As the RHTU becomes established other reproductive health courses will be developed and offered but the initial priority revolves around maternal health.