The health and survival rate of mothers and their newborn children is one of the major criteria for assessing the standard of health care in any nation. Increased medical attention, including hospital births, is assumed to improve these rates. In both Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia, the country that has most influenced medical policies in PNG, there are substantial criticisms surrounding the medicalisation of childbirth. In countries like Australia an articulate women’s health movement continues to challenge the authority of the medical profession and is highly critical of the biomedical domination of birthing. In PNG there is less national public debate over increased medicalisation of birth and it continues to be portrayed as enhancing the health and safety of mother and baby. However, in PNG women continue to die at an alarming rate despite a focus on maternal and child health by missionary health workers, the national government and international aid agencies over a considerable period of time.