Burnet workshops for expectant parents adopted in PNG

Burnet Institute

31 March, 2017

Greater involvement by fathers in pregnancy care and birth is just one of the key behavioural changes underway in Papua New Guinea, thanks to an Australian government funded project.

The Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies project runs workshops for pregnant women and expectant fathers waiting for antenatal clinics (ANCs), who can wait an entire day for their appointments.

The workshops use waiting times to educate parents around birth, postnatal care, immunisation and family planning, and particularly to encourage fathers to positively support partners and children.

The most frequently reported change in knowledge or behaviour was greater involvement by fathers in pregnancy and birth, and greater support by them for their partners.

Men said the health sharing sessions had helped them to overcome uneasy feelings and doubts and increase spacing between children’s births.

“There is a great need to break the cultural mindset especially in males and to be more understanding, helpful and responsible during pregnancy. I took eight young men to the second session after I attended the first,” a participant said.

Men and women said after the workshops that they had made changes to nutrition and rest during pregnancy; sex during pregnancy, preparation for childbirth and malaria prevention.

Australian Doctors International (ADI) invited Burnet’s Program Technical Advisor, Lisa Davidson and project officer, Juliana Bubur to Namatanai in New Ireland to train 20 community health workers in program delivery. The inservice training occurs twice a year, and the Namatanai session was funded by one of ADI’s major donors, Lili Koch.

“Delivering education sessions to expectant parents while they are waiting for their ANC appointment was a completely new concept for all the participants, but one that they embraced enthusiastically,“ Ms Davidson said.

“A significant achievement is that as of June this year the program will be embedded into ANC services in PNG’s East New Britain Province. It will be handed over to the Provincial Health Office to continue the roll out to all ANC clinics in the province.”

“The health workers who participated in the training were extremely enthusiastic about the content and delivery of the HMHB program,” ADI Health Project Manager, Rachael Smith said.

“They are now able to practice their new skills in communities throughout some of the most remote areas in New Ireland Province.”

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Lisa Davidson

Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist


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