Why are we there?

  • Endemic/epidemic disease
  • Health care exclusion
  • Sexual violence

Our work

This is an excerpt from MSF-USA's 2013 Annual Report:

Domestic and sexual violence is a medical-humanitarian emergency in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with consequences at individual, family and national level.

There are very high levels of sexual, domestic, social and tribal violence throughout PNG, and yet care for victims remains inadequate and, in many places, nonexistent. A durable model for prevention or treatment has yet to be identified, and survivors need access to free, quality, confidential, and integrated medical care.

In June, MSF handed its project treating people suffering from high levels of intimate partner violence and sexual violence back to Angau Memorial General Hospital in Lae, but continued to provide technical support. The MSF team at Tari hospital in the southern highlands performed 830 major surgical procedures this year, and also continued to run a family support centre where 1,231 consultations were conducted. March marked the launch of the Port Moresby Regional Treatment and Training project, where staff were trained to provide the integrated care available in Lae. Five essential services are covered during one appointment: emergency medical care for wounds, psychological first aid, preventative drugs for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception, and vaccinations to prevent hepatitis B and tetanus. The aim of the project is to help more people experiencing domestic and sexual violence to access the care they need through health centers and family support centers throughout the country. 

Intensive care at Angau Memorial General Hospital in Lae. © Fiona Morris

Buin Health Centre

Access to healthcare in Buin district has improved significantly in recent years, and this combined with increased support from the provincial health services and AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development) means that MSF is starting to plan the closure of its project there. Teams carried out 3,894 antenatal consultations, 979 family planning consultations and assisted 870 births at the Buin Health Centre this year.

At the end of 2013, MSF had 214 staff in Papua New Guinea. MSF first worked in the country in 1992.

Patient story

Rachel, Lae

"He can bash me up badly. He can use iron, knives to threaten me. How can I fight him? He is a man and he has more strength than me.

He called me one time and was threatening me, saying, 'I’ll break your arms, I’ll break your legs.' That evening he came and surprised me and was chasing me around my big sister’s house.

He went to my workplace and my boss told me, 'You’re just new here, and seems like you are facing this problem. You are not going to work.' So I lost my job there.

When I share my problems with the counselors, I feel free, I don’t have a weight on my body. If I can stand in public and tell everyone, it’s good for me. They know I’ve gone through it and it can help them too."