'Unrecognised crisis': 160km from Australia, women in serious danger

Australia’s near-neighbour Papua New Guinea is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a mother and there are signs the country’s health crisis is getting worse, a report has found.

Women in PNG are 35 times more likely to die during pregnancy than women in Australia (1 in 120 in PNG compared to 1 in 8700 in Australia), according to an evaluation of maternal health by the aid agency ChildFund Australia.

'Unrecognised crisis': 160km from Australia, women in serious danger Pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic at a rural health center in Papua New Guinea

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Nigel Spence, the chief executive of ChildFund Australia, said it is disturbing that some indicators suggest the health challenges facing women in PNG are getting worse.

"It remains an unrecognised crisis that maternal health in PNG is at such a low point," he said. "No woman should die giving birth. Yet in a country just 160 kilometres north of Australia, women are losing their lives every day during childbirth due to unsafe conditions and causes that are completely preventable."

Read the full story in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Read the reportA national health crisis: Maternal deaths in Papua New Guinea