Australia to fund 85 million AUD for Pacific maternal health

08:38, August 06, 2010      

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Australia on Thursday concluded its part in the Pacific Islands Forum with a 85 million dollars ( 77.8 million U.S. dollars) pledge to help boost maternal care and child health.

The money, spread over four years, will be aimed at preventing deaths during childbirth.

There are on average 733 deaths per 100,000 births in Papua New Guinea, while it was 284 in Kiribati and 142 in the Solomon Islands. In Australia, just four die per 100,000 births.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who attended the forum in the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila on Wednesday and Thursday, said the funding would be delivered as part of Australia 's contribution to the Millennium Development Goals.

The goals aim to meet the needs of the world's poor, in areas such as education, health and gender equality, and are agreed to by developed countries.

"Australia's support will enable Pacific health training institutions to increase the numbers of doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers in the region," a statement from Smith's office said.

"Australia will also fund improvements in the delivery of health services across the Pacific, through better procurement of medicines and medical supplies, and improved national health planning."

The Pacific Islands Forum included discussion on many other issues, such as climate change, development assistance and protecting fisheries, Smith said.

The 41st Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting has concluded in Port Vila on Thursday.

Source: Xinhua


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