Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Saving Lives, spreading smiles – 33,000 babies to benefit from improved newborn care

PORT MORESBY, 11 July, 2018 – More than 33,000 babies born over the next three years (July 2018 – June 2021) in Western Highlands Province will receive an improved comprehensive package
of new born care to ensure they survive and thrive.
Tony Stuart, Chief Executive Officer UNICEF Australia and David Mcloughlin, Country Representative UNICEF PNG during the signing of the LOE in Sydney Australia, yesterday. 

This follows the approval of a generous funding support of over K2 million (USD 642,600) by UNICEF Australia to support the roll out of an Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) programme with a focus on preventing and managing neonatal hypothermia (low body temperature) through the use of an innovative hypothermia alert device known locally as the Bebi Kol Kilok.
In Papua New Guinea, up to6,000.newborns or six out of every 10 infants die every year from preventable causes, a rate that has not improved in the last 20 years and is also the highest in the region.
 Correct hypothermia management can save almost half of these deaths.
“UNICEF PNG is very grateful for this donation that will support the Government of PNG to reduce neonatal deaths by promoting simple cost effective and life-saving practices that are crucial for newborns to survive during the first month of life,” said UNICEF Representative, David Mcloughlin, at the signing of the programme in Sydney, Australia yesterday.
These include addressing critical child survival issues such as warmth or thermal protection for newborns, proper breastfeeding support, basic care for infections and breathing difficulties during
the baby’s most vulnerable period in the first month of life.
The funding support will enable UNICEF PNG to work with the Government to strengthen local capacity in hospitals and health facilities deliver the package of newborn care, assess and remove bottlenecks in the delivery of newborn care services and empower communities with the necessary skills and knowledge to continue newborn care at home.
This programme, the first phase of which is currently being implemented in the National Capital District (NCD) and Eastern Highlands Province (EHP) show decreased rates of hypothermia from 51.6 percent to 40.2 percent (NCD) and 21.3 percent to 17.5 percent in EHP since it was introduced
in 2017.
UNICEF in collaboration with the Department of Health will work directly with Western Highlands Provincial Government, the district authorities, church health services and local non-government
organisations to promote the implementation of this programme.

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