Under the partnership, both organisations will work together to support the provincial health administrations of Gulf, Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. The agreement specifically covers the districts of Kikori, Tari-Pori and Nipa-Kutubu.
MSPNG Country Director, Maarten van de Reep commended the Oil Search Foundation for funding the programme saying improving sustainable access to family planning services was vital in reducing maternal mortality in PNG which is among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Our maternal mortality rate has increased two-fold since 1996,” he said. At least 22% of teenagers will have one child. Many will drop out of school and marry young.”
“Having multiple, unplanned and successive births increases the risk of maternal and child mortality, especially among young women. We therefore aim to help reduce this by establishing service delivery outlets and developing the capacity of the local health workforce to improve the quality and uptake of family planning services through this partnership.”
The partnership will provide an estimated 5,200 family planning services to both male and female clients and training and mentorship for 30 frontline clinical staff in the three districts. The capacity building training for health workers will comprise in-service, facility-based, on-the-job and peer-to-peer mentoring, by MSPNG through the National Family Planning Training Program.
CEO of the Oil Search Foundation, Kymberley Kepore said the agreement with MSPNG would continue to build on existing health intervention programmes and enable increased access to safe and secure health outcomes, especially for women and children.
“We anticipate that this partnership will contribute to improved child health, better education for women and children; increased employment opportunities for women and greater family savings in the target communities, ultimately contributing to a stronger national economy in PNG,” she said.
According to national health statistics, more than 40% of PNG women have an unmet need for family planning and by empowering women and girls to choose when, if and how many children to have, they can expect a better education, improved health and well being for their families and themselves.