Papua New Guinea: Health workers train to treat survivors of sexual violence
MOUNT HAGEN (ICRC) – Training for health workers on how to administer emergency treatment to survivors of sexual violence is being held for the first time in Papua New Guinea by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with support from the National Department of Health.
Twenty-two participants from rural health facilities in Enga, Southern and Western Highlands Provinces are attending the five-day training at the Kimininga Hotel in Mount Hagen from 2 - 6 October.
The training provides skills to health workers on how to give Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), a type of preventative medical treatment given to survivors of sexual violence within 72 hours. The treatment helps to reduce the risks of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, as well as preventing unwanted pregnancy.
ICRC health representative Frances Devlin said the training is critical for health workers in the remote Highlands. "Most rural health facilities in PNG are isolated from major urban hospitals and Family Support Centres. It is crucial that health workers serving in remote locations know how to administer immediate treatment to survivors as soon as cases are reported," said Ms Devlin.
The comprehensive training program also covers topics such as Psychological First Aid, engaging with survivors of sexual and gender based violence and specific care for children.
The ICRC aims to continue training rural health nurses in the future, thus enabling a better and wider delivery of the PEP treatment to survivors in remote communities.
The ICRC established an office in 2012 in Mt Hagen and works to protect and assist people affected by tribal fighting. It also provides relief to communities displaced by tribal fights and supports health structures with equipment and training to health staff on sexual violence.