Byrne, A., A. Hodge, and E. Jimenez-Soto, Accelerating Maternal and Child Health Gains in Papua New Guinea: Modelled Predictions from Closing the Equity Gap Using LiST. Matern Child Health J, 2015. 19(11): p. 2429-37.
Many priority countries in the countdown to the millennium development goals deadline are lagging in progress towards maternal and child health (MCH) targets. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one such country beset by challenges of geographical inaccessibility, inequity and health system weakness. Several countries, however, have made progress through focused initiatives which align with the burden of disease and overcome specific inequities. This study identifies the potential impact on maternal and child mortality through increased coverage of prioritised interventions within the PNG health system.
The burden of disease and health system environment of PNG was documented to inform prioritised MCH interventions at community, outreach, and clinical levels. Potential reductions in maternal and child mortality through increased intervention coverage to close the geographical equity gap were estimated with the lives saved tool.
A set community-level interventions, with highest feasibility, would yield significant reductions in newborn and child mortality. Adding the outreach group delivers gains for maternal mortality, particularly through family planning. The clinical services group of interventions demands greater investment but are essential to reach MCH targets. Cumulatively, the increased coverage is estimated to reduce the rates of under-five mortality by 19 %, neonatal mortality by 26 %, maternal mortality ratio by 10 % and maternal mortality by 33 %.
Modest investments in health systems focused on disadvantaged populations can accelerate progress in maternal and child survival even in fragile health systems like PNG. The critical approach may be to target interventions and implementation appropriately to the sensitive context of lagging countries.