Concept: Torres Strait
Evidence shows that the government of Papua New Guinea is failing to provide basic services in health to the majority of its people. Local non-government organisations (NGOs), partnered with international NGOs, are attempting to fill this gap. With limited resources, these small Indigenous organisations must focus much of their effort on training that supports self-reliance as the main strategy for communities to improve their quality of life. This project explored the training content and methodology of Touching The Untouchables (TTU), a small Indigenous NGO based in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, that has trained a network of village volunteers in health promotion and safe motherhood.
Village life imposes multiple demands, from self-sufficiency in food to maintaining law and order. There are established attitudes about power and dependence, referred to as ‘cargo thinking’. Cargo thinking stands as a barrier to the necessity of self-reliance, and requires training strategies that seek to empower participants to create change from their own initiative. Empowerment is understood as oriented towards individual people taking collective action to improve their circumstances by rectifying disparities in social power and control. To achieve self-reliance, empowerment is necessarily operational on the levels of person, community and society.
In addition to being operational on all three levels of empowerment, the training content and methodology adopted and developed by TTU demonstrate that empowering practice in training employs approaches to knowledge that are evidence-based, reflexive, contextual and skill-based. Creating knowledge that is reflexive and exploring knowledge about the broader context uses special kinds of communicative tools that facilitate discussion on history, society and political economy. Furthermore, training methodologies that are oriented to empowerment create settings that require the use of all three types of communication required for cooperative action: dramaturgical, normative and teleological communication.
The success of TTU’s training content and methodology demonstrates that creating the conditions for achieving collective self-reliance through empowerment is a necessary part of primary health promotion in Papua New Guinea, and that underlying the success of empowerment oriented training are definable types of knowledge and communication.
Recent surveys of the shark and ray catches of artisanal fishers in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) resulted in the rediscovery of the threatened river sharks, Glyphis garricki and Glyphis glyphis. These represent the first records of both species in PNG since the 1960s and 1970s and highlight the lack of studies of shark biodiversity in PNG. Two individuals of G. garricki and three individuals of G. glyphis were recorded from coastal marine waters of the Daru region of PNG in October and November 2014. The two G. garricki specimens were small individuals estimated to be 100-105 cm and ~113 cm total length (TL). The three G. glyphis specimens were all mature, one a pregnant female and two adult males. These are the first adults of G. glyphis recorded to date providing a more accurate maximum size for this species, i.e. ~260 cm TL. A single pup which was released from the pregnant female G. glyphis, was estimated to be ~65 cm TL. Anecdotal information from the fishers of pregnant females of G. glyphis containing 6 or 7 pups provides the first estimate of litter size for this species. The jaws of the pregnant female G. glyphis were retained and a detailed description of the dentition is provided, since adult dentition has not been previously documented for this species. Genetic analyses confirmed the two species cluster well within samples from these species collected in northern Australia.
Little is known about the situation of tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea despite its high TB burden, emerging drug resistance and rising HIV co-infection. This review gives an overview on the current situation of TB in PNG and identifies knowledge gaps that should urgently be addressed in the future.
The range of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is expanding globally, raising the threat of emerging and re-emerging arbovirus transmission risks including dengue and chikungunya. Its detection in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) southern Fly River coastal region in 1988 and 1992 placed it 150 km from mainland Australia. However, it was not until 12 years later that it appeared on the Torres Strait Islands. We hypothesized that the extant PNG population expanded into the Torres Straits as an indirect effect of drought-proofing the southern Fly River coastal villages in response to El Nino-driven climate variability in the region (via the rollout of rainwater tanks and water storage containers).
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is an important vector of dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses and is a highly invasive and aggressive biter. Established populations of this species were first recognised in Australia in 2005 when they were discovered on islands in the Torres Strait, between mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea. A control program was implemented with the original goal of eliminating Ae. albopictus from the Torres Strait. We describe the evolution of management strategies that provide a template for Ae. albopictus control that can be adopted elsewhere.
The objective of the study was to describe an m-health initiative to strengthen malaria surveillance in a 184-health facility, multi-province, project aimed at strengthening the National Health Information System (NHIS) in a country with fragmented malaria surveillance, striving towards enhanced control, pre-elimination.
The major malaria vectors of Papua New Guinea exhibit heterogeneities in distribution, biting behaviour and malaria infection levels. Long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), distributed as part of the National Malaria Control Programme, are the primary intervention targeting malaria transmission. This study evaluated the impact of LLINs on anopheline density, species composition, feeding behaviour, and malaria transmission.
Deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the western Pacific are increasingly being assessed for their potential mineral wealth. To anticipate the potential impacts on biodiversity and connectivity among populations at these vents, environmental baselines need to be established. Bathymodiolus manusensis is a deep-sea mussel found in close association with hydrothermal vents in Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea. Using multiple genetic markers (cytochrome C-oxidase subunit-1 sequencing and eight microsatellite markers), we examined population structure at two sites in Manus Basin separated by 40 km and near a potential mining prospect, where the species has not been observed. No population structure was detected in mussels sampled from these two sites. We also compared a subset of samples with B. manusensis from previous studies to infer broader population trends. The genetic diversity observed can be used as a baseline against which changes in genetic diversity within the population may be assessed following the proposed mining event.
Yaws is a treponemal infection that was almost eradicated fifty years ago; however, the disease has re-emerged in a number of countries including Ghana. A single-dose of intramuscular benzathine penicillin has been the mainstay of treatment for yaws. However, intramuscular injections are painful and pose safety and logistical constraints in the poor areas where yaws occurs. A single center randomized control trial (RCT) carried out in Papua New Guinea in 2012 demonstrated the efficacy of a single-dose of oral azithromycin for the treatment of yaws. In this study, we also compared the efficacy of a single oral dose of azithromycin as an alternative to intramuscular benzathine penicillin for the treatment of the disease in another geographic setting.
To examine the correlation between HIV prevalence and male circumcision and other foreskin cutting practices across the four regions of Papua New Guinea (PNG).