A recent survey conducted by UNFPA in partnership with the National Department of Health (NDoH) has found that 57% of health facilities had the minimum required number of maternal health medicines in stock.
The Health Facilities Survey 2022 had surveyed 149 facilities that provide maternal health and delivery services in Papua New Guinea (PNG). From that survey, enumerators recorded the availability of 17 medicines.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHOs) minimum global standard requires facilities offering maternal health and delivery services to have at least 7 of these medicines including two mandatory medicines, oxytocin and magnesium sulfate.
Oxytocin assists in ensuring a safe delivery and magnesium sulfate reduces the risk of seizure in women with pre-eclampsia.
These two medicines are critical for ending preventable maternal death. According to the survey, 75% of facilities reported oxytocin and 65% reported availability of magnesium sulfate.
Women in rural areas are most at risk from the lack of medicines with 51% of rural health facilities reporting availability of the minimum of seven maternal health medicines.
The results of this study will assist the UNFPA and the NDoH in understanding and responding to the instances of stock-outs in health facilities.
The most common reasons for stock-outs were delays in ordering and receiving these essential medicines.
Meanwhile, the NDoH with support from UNFPA, has been conducting logistics and supply chain management trainings for health workers in each province of PNG to address this matter.
The trainings include health facility pharmacists, medical officers, nurses, and warehouse personnel to improve efficiency and reduce stock outs and wastage across the health system.
UNFPA is working with the NDoH to address the unmet need for family planning and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
UNFPA’s partnership with NDoH focuses on strengthening local expertise in delivering improved health services PNG through supporting midwifery in-service training and equipment, procurement and distribution of contraceptives and reproductive health commodities, support to the Certification in Basic Pharmaceutical Management course for Pharmacy Assistants, and sexual and reproductive health advocacy.
With support from the Australian Government, UNFPA has completed a national Assessment for Reproductive Health Commodities and Services to assess the availability and quality of essential reproductive health commodities and quality of family planning and maternal health services in primary, secondary, and tertiary facilities across the country.
In addition, UNFPA procured $730, 000 USD of reproductive health commodities in 2022 with $260, 000 USD for strengthening the supply chain and health system in PNG.