Access to safe health care facilities, including for sexual and reproductive health.
I am from Papua New Guinea the biggest island in the Pacific Region that shares boarders with Indonesia and Australia.
Twenty years ago when I was attending primary education in my father’s village, I learnt in history class that almost 87% of Papua New Guineans (estimated 4million people) lived in remote villages with no access to electricity, roads, health facilities, banking or shopping centres.
Every 5 years a new local Member of Parliament will be voted with promises of delivering those services. We only spotted them once during election campaigns and see them after 5 years again.
I was one of the very few females in my district to make it to University. Today I work with an Australian NGO conducting social research to improve sexual health, maternal health, child protection and increases access for HIV related services. As I traveled throughout the 21 provinces of Papua New Guinea, my heart sank. People walked for days to reach a national highway (also in very bad state) and travel another day yet to reach a town just to get a bar of soap, a packet of sugar or a pair of shirt and a 1litre kerosene for their hurricane lamps. Many mothers delivered their babies in the village. Out of 20 women I spoke to 18 of them lost one or two children during childbirth or other diseases. Children die of malnutrition and other preventable diseases due to lack of education and health care support close by. Children who wanted an education would walk or paddled their canoes for hours to school and return home. Most times young school girls are waylaid and raped. The highest level of education a female child would get is primary education (less than grade 6) by which most can’t hardly read or do simple math well. Their teachers had to take Fridays off to travel to town to collect paychecks and shop.
When I take a plane to our capital city, Port Moresby, I am surprised by the huge contrast and fast growing developments. Properties are going for 1.4 million Kina (80,000 Aus$) whilst the nation’s capital city’s general Hospital is lying in ruins. Parliamentarians are fighting over the Prime Minister seat and elections whist over 40,000 (2/3women) HIV positive people do not have Ant retro Viral Therapy (drugs) to sustain their lives.
I never thought corporate greed would set foot on our shores because we call ourselves a Christian country. I am a mother of a two year old boy. I wonder what the future holds for him. Will he make it through the corrupt education system where free education is promised and subsidies not seen in the 6th month? Will he make it to 7 even, when the hospitals are overcrowded, nurses stressed out and drugs half the time in nill stock? Will I become abusive because I am equally stressed out to put 3meals a day on the table to nourish his little body? I wonder how those Papua New Guinean women who are not economically independent coping in this times of turmoil? Will their lives ever be better? Will their daughters make it to university and be great leaders tomorrow? I WONDER…and my heart is heavy.
Twenty years gone and only we have more people than before (estimated 6million) in 2012 but 87% still live in extremely underserviced communities.
Corruption and gun power is the main issue in the country. Over the years parliamentarians are twisting legislations and policies around to protect themselves. We have petitioned so many times but petitions have fallen over stubborn ears. Country is not seen anymore as democratic but semi communist as leaders pay off military and police for their own control/security rather than for the best interest of the people. Who will intervene when transparency international and ombudsmen commission is also afraid of thier lives and involvement to stop corruption amongst politicians or top government officials? Even our women suffering from domestic violence (by the way the highest reported in the asia pacific) are not protected by the police. Corporate companies slip in so easy into the country drilling every natural resources they can and a blind eye is turned on the environmental destruction caused to our villages. Why is it that our government can not afford good scientists to review environmental plans of mining projects, logging and fishing companies before approving. If Disease Control Officers can not even monitor the health department's minimum standard guides, who can monitor corporate environmental plans and actual implementations?
We've lost faith of the laws, policies and legislations in this country. See photo: An example of a breaking society.
Young men helping themselves to a container truck up the highlands national highway after it got stuck on a bad section of the Okuk National Highway. Oh by the way, this is the road linking 3 large mining and petroleum companies who contributes to our economy.
Here is a simple plea. HELP US Please! INTERVENE. I don't know how you will do it given the current situation. We the MOTHERS of the nation are HOPEFUL for a SAVIOUR and we believe the United Nations or somebody will INTERVENE.
In partnership with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), World Pulse is collecting personal stories outlining women’s experiences and recommendations on sustainable and equitable development for presentation at the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
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