Maternity emergency training kicks off in PNG

Burnet Institute

26 June, 2019

18 midwives will become 'master trainers' through the program and return to their provinces to share their knowledge with colleagues

Burnet Institute has partnered with the UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office, as well as JHPIEGO and Laerdal Global Health, to provide maternity emergency training for midwives in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The training will teach ‘master trainers’ across two programs: ‘Helping Mothers Survive’ and ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ which address the main causes of maternal and newborn deaths: postpartum haemorrhage, preeclampsia and the need for neonatal resuscitation.

In summary:

  • Maternity emergency training provided to 18 ‘master trainer’ midwives in PNG
  • Training will help midwives save lives of mothers and newborns
  • Master trainers will return to their provinces to educate colleagues.

UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Advisor, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and UNFPA Project Lead, Ms Catherine Breen Kamkong, said midwives of PNG work in challenging conditions.

“UNFPA is committed to ensuring that no women dies giving life. The midwives of PNG are working in extremely remote provinces and often with very few resources,” she said.

“This training is part of this effort to ensure that midwives have the skills they need to save mothers’ lives. One midwife from Bougainville said at the training, ‘If I had known I needed to apply fundal pressure and massage, that woman who died in my faculty would have survived. I will never forget this skill.’”

Burnet Institute Project Lead, Professor Caroline Homer AO, said the initial group of 18 midwives were from across PNG’s very rural and remote areas.

“There is good evidence that well trained and supported midwives can save the lives of mothers and babies. This program is based on excellent research – rolling this out in areas of high need like PNG will save lives,” Professor Homer said.

After finishing their training, the master trainers will return to their provinces to run regular practice drills with midwives and health workers in health facilities.

Professor Homer said the training would build confidence and competence in health workers to perform life saving skills for mothers and their newborns.

Important milestones:

  • PNG is the first country to receive this master training with the support of UNFPA and Burnet
  • Training in Bhutan, Lao PDR and Cambodia will be held later this year
  • The work is being conducted in partnership with and supported by the PNG National Department of Health, and midwifery and obstetric associations in PNG as well as Laerdal Global Health, Jhpiego and the International Confederation of Midwives
  • It’s the first activity of Burnet’s three-year partnership with the UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office.

Globally, more than 300,000 women die of preventable causes linked to childbirth each year, with 85,000 occurring in the Asia-Pacific region.

Reaching zero preventable maternal deaths is one of UNFPA’s key transformational results, in partnership with Burnet Institute and other stakeholders across the Asia-Pacific region and globally.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Caroline Homer AO

Burnet Executive Team; Co-Program Director, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health; Working Group Head


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