Women, girls encouraged to make informed decisions

Women and girls have been encouraged to make informed decisions about their bodies and lives ahead of a family planning outreach in Port Moresby this week.

Marie Stopes PNG is hosting a three-day outreach at the Hevea Cup and Wellness Expo from March 5-7 at the National Football Stadium.

The outreach, which is supported by the Australian government through the PNG-Australia Partnership, includes free counselling services on family planning, contraceptive methods and sexually transmitted infection prevention.

Marie Stopes marketing and advocacy coordinator, Cathy Tukne, will be at the expo and plans to draw on her own experiences as a teen mother to educate women and girls on family planning.

“Our vision is: ‘children by choice, not by chance’,” Tukne said. “In order for women and girls to exercise their right to choose when to have a child, we must empower them with the information and services they need to take control of their bodies and their future.

“Family planning results in informed decisions. This means more opportunities for women to pursue additional education and participate in public life, including paid employment.”

Marie Stopes has been working in PNG since 2006 and is a key partner of the PNG Government in providing family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Services are provided through urban clinics, outreach teams that travel to remote districts and villages, and embedded family planning nurses in major national and regional hospitals.

“We aim for a world in which every birth is wanted,” Tukne continued.

“Too often we see young girls dropping out of school because of unplanned pregnancies – family planning ensures these girls reach their full potential and have children when they are ready.

“We are glad to be part of initiatives like the Hevea Cup and Expo, which help women and girls overcome social and cultural barriers to reach their full potential.”

Family planning is identified as a priority in PNG’s National Health Plan and Medium Term Development Plan. Supported by the PNG-Australia Partnership, Marie Stopes consortium with Susu Mamas has provided over 240,000 men and women with sexual reproductive health and family planning services in 2019.

Australia has recently announced additional funding of K14.4 million to Marie Stopes to continue service provision for integrated family planning including sexual, reproductive health, maternal and child health services in Papua New Guinea.

Press release