This is 21st century, and globally women are enjoying more freedom and power than ever before virtually in all aspects of life. Women have gained equal access to education, health care, capital, decision-making powers in the political, social, and business sectors. Certainly, things are changing for better for the women of PNG as well. Despite PNG’s strong patriarchal system of society, women have come a long way in achieving much stronger roles in education and politics. PNG women from all walks of life are trying to break the social taboos and set benchmarks for other women.
Today, we have women achievers in PNG who are an inspiration to hundreds of women and girls. Dr. Esther Roibete Apuahe – the first lady surgeon of PNG attributes her success completely to her father who supported in her journey towards being a doctor. She is a live example for every woman in PNG who wish to excel in life. Women empowerment can be achieved only when the family realises the importance of its support to girls/women in fulfilling their dreams. During the June 2012 elections, of the 3500 contestants, 135 contestants were women candidates and 3 of these women were successful in becoming new members of the House – Hon Delilah Gore (Sohe Open), Hon Loujaya Toni (Lae Open) and Hon Julie Soso (Eastern Highlands Regional). Hon Soso was elected from a regional seat, entitling her the position of a Governor of her province.
Women like these are bringing about a change in the mindset of the people in PNG.
Though small strides have been accomplished in brining gender equality in PNG, much needs to be done. A larger section of women in PNG still face domestic violence, sexual assault, poor health status and many harmful traditional practises. The change that we wish for PNG can only happen when there will be a shift in the mindset of people regarding the importance of the role of females in the family and society.
PNG has some of the worst health indicators in the world for women. This majorly includes:
- Poor Maternal Health
- Cervical Cancer Deaths
Women in PNG are particularly disadvantaged, as evidenced by poor maternal health and lack of access to family planning. The maternal mortality ratio is 230 per 100,000. PNG National Department of Health and many others estimate that at least 5 women die in childbirth every day. High incidence of sexual assaults on women contributes to their risk of catching HIV or other STI.
The changing trends – a ray of hope
With the changing times, there is more and more involvement of females in the decision-making roles in the society; we foresee a brighter future for females of PNG. Australian government is supporting PNG’s legal system and police service, to help deal with family and sexual violence. But, change will need to come from within. Ultimately efforts to fight gender inequality must be led by Papua New Guineans. However, in 2013, the parliament passed family protection legislation first drafted back in the early 1990s which criminalises domestic violence, strengthens protection orders, and directs police to pursue family and sexual violence. But, practical efforts to tackle the violence are still not seen as a priority (Low Institute Organisation).
This International Women’s Day there is a need for awareness among PNG women to know about their rights. Women of PNG need support and they should be encouraged to partner with organizations and centres who can help them.
PIH wishes all women Happy Women’s Day and congratulates its women doctors and staff for their achievement as service providers. They are an inspiration to many women in PNG.
Kudos to our team ladies!
PNG is one of only three malaria-endemic countries within the Pacific Region and bears about 98% of the malaria burden in the Pacific Region (MMV, 2015). Malaria incidence is 151 cases per 1,000 people in PNG in 2013 (2014 PNG Health Sector Performance Annual Review), 38.5 deaths due to malaria per 100,000 people (2012 WHO PNG Statistical Profile).
An average of 1.5-1.8 million suspected cases of malaria are seen at healthcare facilities annually (Country Health Information Profiles – WHO). This high incidence of malaria is not only affecting the quality of people’s life but also adversely affecting the revenue generation in the country because of huge man-hours lost due to Malaria.
According to a Fides news service report, approximately 90% of the population of Papua New Guinea is at risk of deadly malaria. Mosquitoes, which are the vectors of the disease, are prolific in the rain-soaked, hot and humid climate of the country. Poor regulatory power, ineffective delivery structure, drug-resistant parasites, the lack of an effective health system, the diverse spread of PNG’s population are all challenges to malaria control in PNG. The PNG National Department of Health (NDoH) National Malaria Control Strategic Plan 2014-2018 is determined on achieving and sustaining universal coverage and access to malaria control interventions. The goal is to achieve a reduction in the malaria burden in PNG (MMV, 2015).
The funding to enable the implementation of this Plan has been under significant review for some months between the PNG Government, NDoH Malaria National Technical Working Group and the Global Fund.
The financial algorithms to wipe away the scare of Malaria
- With 98% of funding from Global Fund, a sum of 26 million USD was spent to control Malaria in the year 2013.
- The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many donors, from Australia, the United States and the European Union. The grant agreements embody a partnership with Papua New Guinea and Rotarians against Malaria, Population Services International and World Vision, who will implement the programmes. The two grants, for a combined total of USD32 million, will be used to fund distribution of 2.8 million mosquito nets and training of community health workers.
Programmes to eradicate the spread of Malaria in PNG
- Papua New Guinea introduced a new national malaria treatment protocol (NMTP)with the recommendations of the World Health Organization. NMTP introduced artemether-lumefantrine (AL) as the new first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was also introduced as the new second-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria.
- The Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR), as a sub-recipient in the Global Fund (GF) Round 8 Malaria Grant to Papua New Guinea (PNG), was contracted to provide a range of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities in support of the PNG National Malaria Control Programme, 2009-2014.
Know more about Malaria
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium with symptoms of high fever along with shaking chills and anaemia. When an infected mosquito bites you, you can be infected with malaria.
There are 5 species of Plasmodium that infect people with malaria.
Of these P. Falciparum and P. Vivax cause life-threatening malarial complications.
How is malaria transmitted?
When a mosquito bites an infected person, it carries malarial parasites and then spreads the disease to healthy people through its bite. The malaria parasite lives in the bodies of people and mosquitoes. The malaria parasite is generally transmitted to people by mosquitoes. In some cases, a person may contract malaria through contaminated blood during blood transfusion, or infected needles. In pregnant women, malaria may be transmitted from a mother to her fetus.
What are the symptoms of Malaria?
Common symptoms of malaria include:
- Shaking chills High fever
- Profuse sweating
- Muscle pain
- Bloody stools
Life-Threatening Complications of Malaria
- Cerebral malaria: The complicated malarial symptom includes seizures with fever caused by swelling of blood vessels in the brain or cerebral malaria.
- Pulmonary edema: Malaria can cause accumulation of fluid inside lungs causing breathing problems or pulmonary edema.
- Organ failure: Malaria can lead to organ failures of kidney, liver and spleen.
- Severe anaemia: The destruction of red blood cells results in anaemia and low blood sugar.
Measures to prevent malaria
- Use mosquito repellents : Use insect sprays containing pyrethroids in all your living and sleeping areas, especially during evening and night hours.
- Avoid travelling to mosquito-infested regions: Talk to your doctor about anti-malarial drugs in case of travelling to these regions. Stay safe at nights – Use nets and repellents
- Try to avoid sleeping outside where mosquitoes are more like standing water (tyres, lakes, waste dumps). Use bed-net impregnated with insecticides
- Check the net is not damaged and ensure it is properly tucked underneath your mattress. Keep the windows and doors with additional nets attached to it. Keep the air-conditioning on, as mosquitoes tend to stay away from cool, air-conditioned rooms.
- Go for long sleeves and light colours: Wear long sleeve shirts and trousers in evening and at night. Lesser the skin exposed, the better. Wear light coloured clothes in order to increase the protection.
- Eradicate mosquito-breeding areas like stagnant water in your surroundings.
Role of PIH to End Malaria for Good
PIH being the nation’s “Best Hospital” strives to bring down the count of malaria cases, by promoting extensive community awareness programmes and regular health checks. The hospital encourages people of PNG to get early diagnosis and prompt treatment for malaria is treatable, curable and preventable with early intervention. It is important for patients to take medications as prescribed and complete the treatment course.