Villagers’ pain of accessing health services

It’s nothing new to the villagers of Vairavanua on the Aroma Coast of Central Province, but then again, it isn’t normal to walk three hours to the nearest aid post.

For many, the struggle to access a health facility and treatment is real.

Mothers and their children are hit the hardest when it comes to accessing health care in Vairavanua; they walk a distance of 2 to 3 kilometres to get to the village aid post.

Naises Wamala, an elder in Vairavanua village, says despite a promise by Central Governor Kila Haoda to build an aid post, they are still using an incomplete centre.

A land dispute among the villages has also hindered the progress of the completion of the aid post. As a result, women and children have to walk for 3 hours along the beach, from Paramana to Keleraupa, to seek health services at Kupiano Hospital in the Abau District.

It will cost K12 for a bus ride to Kupiano and back… K12 can be a lot of money for a simple villager to fork out in these difficult times, as this elderly woman explains in her Aroma dialect.

She says they are often turned back if there are no medical supplies and for those who don’t have family support in the city, they go home with a lot more to be desired in terms of health care.

Vagi Vagi is a woman living with disability and she says at times when she cannot walk the miles, she resorts to pain killers as a quick fix to her illness.

Wamala, whose father was an aid post worker, says it is vital to have access to health care in the village.

(Naises Wamala, an elder in Vairavanua village.)

Sophie Yaruso