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30 March 2017


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What does this actually mean? Are you kidding?

Not having a functioning health service, clean water and safe sanitation (the simplest things) means that the under age five mortality rate is 57/1,000 (maybe - Human Development Report 2016).

And the maternal mortality rate is somewhere between 215/100,000 (as watered down for consumption in the Human Development Report 2016) or "between 500 and 700/100,000" (Prof Glen Mola 2017 in 'Thirty years of continuous maternal care and perinatal audit from a national referral hospital in a low-resource country leads to better professional skills and maternal outcomes: The Papua New Guinea experience').

"Papua New Guineans ... don’t need a bunch of vague statistics of dubious quality to tell them what they already know" - really?

My students are pretty confident things "aren't that bad" and, because they are not all very good at numbers, few have a strong idea what the under fives mortality or the MMR means in daily life.

Let us be clear. Such bad indicators mean that Papua New Guineans have been cheated by 41 years of governments and have been slow to ask why so many of their siblings, nieces and nephews, their mothers and aunties are just ... there is no polite way to put it ... stone cold dead.

This is not normal.

As for a "bunch of international consultants", that is a helpful comment is it? Is Glen Mola one of them? I think not.

PNG doesn't have to be compared with Australia or Norway. Comparing PNG with Fiji would be quite sufficient.

You'd find that if PNG health system had performed as well Fiji's since 1975, 350,000 avoidable fatalities could have been since Independence, more than the population of Vanuatu, or Oro and New Ireland Provinces combined (

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