HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), along with co-morbid presentations (notably, tuberculosis), continue to present significant health, social and economic challenges in PNG.
Factors affecting sexual and reproductive health (SRH) for women, girls and vulnerable groups include gender inequality, traditional gender roles, early marriage, bride price resulting in perceived ownership of women, high rates of physical and sexual violence, poor awareness of prevention and management of SRH issues, and low levels of condom use.
The sexual health clinical workforce in PNG has limited access to continuing professional development that promotes reflective practice, supports the introduction of updated clinical guidelines and builds advanced practice. There is an ongoing need for development of an evidence base, through grounded operational and clinical research, to enable scale-up of effective and efficient SRH services.
The Sexual & Reproductive Health Integration Project (SRHIP) is a dynamic partnership of PNG Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS), Anglicare PNG, Burnet Institute, ASHM and Igat Hope. Led and managed by CCHS, the consortium is uniquely positioned through its combined PNG and HIV experience, complementary skills, services and resources, to make a major impact on the delivery of HIV and SRH services and outcomes.
CCHS and Anglicare PNG have been central to the HIV response in PNG. Changes to the funding environment, along with advances in treatment and technology, demand innovative approaches to continued delivery of essential SRH services. SRHIP will ensure continued and responsive provision of HIV and STI services to CCHS and Anglicare PNG without duplicating national health mechanisms, whilst strategically addressing integration, sustainability and scale-up of quality SRH services within primary health care.
The project will initially focus on 10 provinces:
- East Sepik, Morobe, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Central, West New Britain, NCD, Gulf, Western and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
From year 2 of the project SRHIP will then extend integration to standalone facilities within the provinces of Sandaun, Madang, Jiwaka, Hela, East New Britain, New Ireland, Milne Bay and Central, Port Moresby and Mount Hagen.
June 2017 – April 2020
SRHIP will expand reach and coverage of STI, HIV, SRH and primary health services within CCHS and Anglicare PNG.
The project will develop integrated SRH and primary health service models, building on strengths of current facility operations and seeking to increase quality, scale-up and efficiency for long-term sustainability.
There will be specific focus on integration of standalone HIV clinics into the primary health system and establishing referral pathways to broader SRH services.
SRHIP will deliver sustainable outcomes by integrating the existing 22 CCHS HIV standalone clinics and 2 Anglicare PNG Clinics into broader SRH services within the primary health care system.