Project Information

Health Projects Run by the AHS

Village Health Promotion
What is the need ?
Infant mortality rate deteriorated from 72 per 1000 live births in 1980 to 77 per 1000 in 1996 and continues to worsen.
In rural areas there are 20 maternal deaths per 1000 births.
Life expectancy is 54.6 for males and 53.5 for females, which is the lowest in the Pacific Region and 25 years younger than in most western countries.
There is a high incidence of Pneumonia, TB and other respiratory diseases, Malaria and skin diseases.
There is also increasing anxiety about the rising incidence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, HIV and AIDS.

The root causes of most illness in PNG however are fairly basic:-

  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unsafe drinking water
  • Low take up of:-
    • Antenatal care
    • Hospital or health centre deliveries
    • Family planning
    • Child growth monitoring
    • Child immunisation
Most illness in PNG is caused by infectious disease, which is preventable A major contributing factor is a lack of education and awareness about how to reduce the risk of infection.

How do VHPs help ?
VHP class Village Health Promotion Workshops are being organised to train Village Health Promoters in each village, who will help our isolated communities improve their general health and reduce their current high level of sickness. The workshop comprises five modules:-

  • Before and after Village Childbirth, including antenatal health, and care of the mother and baby
  • Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea
  • Child Growth and Development, including child nutrition
  • Sexual Health, including family planning and sexually transmitted diseases. High prominence is given in this module to HIV and AIDS.
  • Healthy Families, Happy Communities including environmental health, housing and personal hygiene
Each module is supported with a flipchart, worksheets, games and other materials. A training manual is currently being written.

VHP class Participants in the workshops include schoolteachers, priests, catechists, youth workers, members of the Mothers Union and other women's organisations, and members of the local Health Committee, who keep sets of materials for using in their own communities.

It is stipulated that at least half of the participants must be female. The intention of the workshops is to strengthen community understanding of the causes of ill health and take ownership of their own programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of its village people.

Where do VHPs work ?
Four pilot workshops were held at:-

Coastal locations Taupota in Milne Bay Province Korisata in Oro Province
Highlands locations Movi in Chimbu Province Koinambe in Western Highlands Province
Each pilot included an evaluation of the materials and the methods used, following which the materials were modified and reprinted, incorporating new ideas. It is intended that workshops will now be available throughout PNG.

Personal Stories
Specific comments at the end of the workshop were as follows:-

This workshop has been very useful. I have learnt so much that I didn't understand before about the causes of ill health. There is so much we can all do to help our communities. We haven't had teaching materials on health issues like this to use in our school before. Thank you.
Washington Samba, Headmaster Topura Community School

I have really enjoyed this workshop and learnt a lot that I didn't know before. What I know is that health is everybodies business and that this knowledge will help us to serve our communities in God's name. I think that all priests should have the opportunity to attend workshops like this.
Wilkinson Gotuyoe, Priest, Topura Village

Thank you for running this workshop. We appreciated the opportunity to participate and learn from each other about our own culture. I am looking forward to using the materials in my own school.
Pepi Robert, Headteacher Taupota Community School

This workshop has helped me a lot. It has answered a lot of my questions. I felt a bit nervous when I had to do my own health education session, but I am glad that I did it because now I feel more confident at what I am doing.
Noreen Solomon, Youth representative, Taupota village

This was an excellent workshop and the flipcharts were easy to follow. We all enjoyed playing the games. It was a good idea to discuss the sexual issues as separate men and womens groups and then discuss together. We all felt less embarrassed this way and it helped us to say lots of things we wouldn't have said. There were many things I didn't understand before. I am happy to share this with other women.
Elvina Nava, Mothers Union, Council of Women, Taupota Village

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This web-site was last updated on the 20th of Oct. 2001