Family violence an endemic: Health worker

Family violence has become endemic in Western Highlands, says a health worker.

Mt Hagen General Hospital Section Supervisor for Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sister Edith Namba made this statement during the opening of a new Family Support Centre (FSC) at the hospital on Thursday. 

Sr Namba said the facility would provide a confidential and secure setting where survivors of family and sexual violence could access the professional support they need.

“Mothers and women are dying slowly from this epidemic.

“With this centre the province can make greater progress towards improving its services by reaching out to all the survivors and at the same time promoting healthy family living. 

“Gender-based, family and sexual violence are among the biggest issues affecting families in Western Highlands Province and they need to be addressed collectively by government and all other stakeholders.”

Sr Namba, who is in charge of the FSC, said the old centre provided psychological first aid for survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence, including rape and child abuse.

She added that staffs have already moved into the new building and will be able to expand their services.

The facility completed last month, was built by a local contractor and funded by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in partnership with Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority.

Kakhaber Khasaia, the head of the ICRC’s Mt Hagen Office, said the humanitarian organisation was delighted to be able to help build the centre.

“We know that family and sexual violence is all too common in the Highlands region.

 “This investment will help survivors rebuild their lives.” Khasaia said.

He said the facility would act as a safe haven for survivors of family and sexual violence and offer medical treatment, as well as referrals for counselling, legal support and other services.

The ICRC is working in the PNG Highlands region to protect and assist people affected by tribal fights and other types of violence in the provinces of Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela.

Charles Yapumi