by Willie Lovai – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Safe Motherhood Alliance (SMA) Papua New Guinea stands firm on maternal health issues and say that sexual and reproductive health must not be a taboo topic in PNG.
Patron of SMA PNG, Dame Carol Kidu, and wife of PNG Prime Minister, Lynda Babao O’Neill, during a press conference yesterday spoke about teenage pregnancy and family planning.
Babao O’Neill said that sexual and reproductive health is still a very sensitive topic in PNG, and this is because of cultural barriers.
The breaking down of these barriers will allow for communities, societies and families to talk more freely to the younger generations on sensitive issues.
She said that it is important to recognise the need to speak to children, and especially girls. SMA PNG advocates for greater attention and resource allocation for teenage pregnancy in the country.
Safe Motherhood Alliance is a non-government organisation that has been very vocal on maternal health and related issues in the country, issues such as teenage pregnancy, gender equality, sexuality and women’s empowerment are tackled by the women behind the organisation.
The emphasis is on young women and their education, to teach and encourage them to better the choices they make in society.
The aim is to provide more awareness, advocate to the younger population and break cultural barriers that make sexual and reproductive health discussions taboo within families in PNG.
For PNG there are many obstacles, like poverty, the lack of proper education and cultural barriers. However, having a well-informed and educated female society is the first step to preventing teenage and unwanted pregnancy in the country.