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Papua New Guinea
MSF in Papua New Guinea, 2009
Field Staff: 79
Reason for Intervention:
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The people of Papua New Guinea are caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence. The rapid development of the country in recent years has had the unintended consequence of aggravating existing tensions. For the most part, it is women and children who bear the brunt of this, suffering rape and other forms of violence - that creates an urgent need for both medical care and psychosocial support.
In addition healthcare provision is limited. Infectious diseases claim many lives; there are serious public health risks from endemic diseases such as malaria, and an emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In the coastal city of Lae, MSF worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to provide care for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. MSF also began integrating medical care with psychosocial care and in 2009 more than 2,500 people received counseling.
In the Southern Highlands, MSF has been supporting the district hospital of Tari to address the surgical and psychosocial needs of survivors of domestic and other types of violence. In addition MSF managed the operating theaters and water and sanitation facilities in the hospital. Psychological counseling and support for emergency obstetric patients was also provided.
In December, the international team was temporarily withdrawn after some members were threatened in the Tari hospital, though national staff continued to work with Ministry of Health doctors and international staff began to return at the end of the year. More than 650 medical procedures were performed throughout the year, including more than 240 major surgeries, and more than 150 people received counseling.
MSF set up several emergency centers to treat the first cholera outbreak to have affected Papua New Guinea in 50 years. Teams helped to train hospital staff to implement a cholera intervention program and treat patients.
MSF has worked in Papua New Guinea since 2009.