West Papua: persistent dreams of a PNG union
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OCDP reports on the real Papua New Guinea

Oro Community Development Project

It is relatively simple to distort the image of Papua New Guinea and its people.  Most media reporting is of unbridled violence and sorcery. As a young, growing country the challenges of governance, public services, employment and opportunity are ever present.

If you spend some time moving about the provinces and talking with the people, you find the real pulse of the place. 

They experience the same emotions as we do – they laugh, cry, become frightened, express compassion, love and joy. They want to be successful, want the best for their children. Now through access to the internet and mobile phones at the village level, they know what is happening around the world. 

While there are signs of worthwhile progress that benefit the majority, there is still a way to go.

After the OCDP team’s visit to Oro Province in April, key decisions were made about the focus of our professional support.

The two village schools to be supported are St James’ School at Hohorita and Holy Cross School at Gona. The PNG outcomes based syllabus is new and soundly based. With extra support for teachers, implementation should become easier. The related curriculum materials are necessary as are the student textbooks. OCDP aims to provide these materials together with the professional support.

Clean Hands, Good Health and Bright Smiles, Bright Futures are health initiatives developed by Colgate-Palmolive. Their target is to improve the health of children and communities around the world through education and prevention. Colgate has agreed to partner OCDP to help implement the basic daily practices of good hygiene.

This involves brushing teeth both day and night, using toothbrushes and toothpaste as well as focusing on regular hand washing at certain times throughout the day. Colgate will become actively involved by both supplying materials and personnel. This initiative will become part of the daily program at the beginning of each school day and will be the responsibility of the class teacher.

The maternal and infant death rates in PNG are the highest of any other Pacific nation and equate to some of the worse rates in Africa. Much of this can be attributed to inadequate hygiene practices during childbirth. For most mothers, the only option is to deliver the baby in the village.

OCDP have become an official Zonta International distributor of the highly acclaimed birthing kits. These are the size of a cigarette box and contain materials that assist in following the six clean methods of delivery – clean hands, clean birth surface, clean ties, clean cut, clean cord care and clean eyes.

The kit consists of a piece of soap for washing hands and mother before delivery, a clean sheet for the child during delivery, a sterile razor blade to cut the cord, clean ties to tie the ‘rope’ and swabs to clean the baby’s eyes after delivery.

The Mother’s Union in Popondetta fully support OCDP and will assist in the distribution of up to 3 000, kits each year becoming an integral part of the program. OCDP health professionals will accept responsibility for the training of the Mothers’ Union volunteers. There is also the vital requirement for the careful monitoring of the effectiveness of the campaign.

Malaria causes more deaths in PNG than any other disease including HIV/Aids.  The use of anti-malaria bed nets dramatically reduces the adverse impact. ‘Rotarians Against Malaria’ has been given major responsibility for organising the distribution of anti-malaria bed nets in PNG. The Global Fund in Geneva have guaranteed to meet the estimated cost of US$175m.

OCDP hope to be involved in this process in Oro Province and has registered its willingness and capacity to meet the project outcomes. 

For further information please contact the Project at [email protected]

Source: Newsletter of the Oro Community Development Project


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