I have supported family planning through;
1. Facilitation of Health trainings: Reported significant changes in the attitudes and behaviours of people with regards to family planning. A follow up of the trainings reported a 20% increase in the number of people that thought condom was a good family planning method.
2. Providing support to project staff and partners to ensure quality assurance in all our program activities so that beneficiaries receive the best
3. Voluntary Work with Local NGO group that runs private clinic supporting women and children: Barola Haus Mama.
Support covers program quality work, project design and preparing support documents to assist with fund raising activities. BHM received some significant funding from Mundango Australia last year to support its work.
There was great mourning in a village near where we were stationed for our health training in 2013. The reason I found later was that a woman in her late 30s had died while after giving birth to her 9th child due to a retained placenta and severe loss of blood. By the time a small plane was called to come to the rescue, she had already died. The sorrow, anger and frustration expressed by these locals that I had come to call friends was so profound, I realized why family planning was important.
One of the biggest challenges I have found in family planning is people’s misconceptions about family planning. Some examples are; ‘family planning makes people sterile’, and ‘family planning promotes promiscuity’. It astounds me that even educated men and women have such misconceptions. Through health trainings and awareness activities, we have been able to make some head way into changing people’s beliefs, attitudes and practices with regards to family planning.
I think the biggest challenge for my country is maintaining balance in the demand and supply for family planning. Despite being capable to ensure supply is constant, PNG’s National Department of Health has limitations to supporting the creation of demand. In my opinion, it would be beneficial to PNG if the department of health can work with development partners such as Marie Stopes International, Care International, and other international organizations to help it to improve this imbalance.
I believe the key to solving the imbalance in demand and supply is to take a holistic approach to solving this issue. This means working with communities to create demand, service providers to meet that demand, and advocating with decision making bodies for better support. CARE PNG’s Health program take this holistic approach which has proven successful. In the next 5 years and more I hope, I see myself playing a major role in family planning programs that take this holistic approach.