Teapopo is a small village with smooth mud shores and bright green mangroves on the Fly river of Western Province, Papua New Guinea. It is like many small villages along the river that the MV YWAM PNG, visits each year with medical services and training.
The difference with Teapopo is the presence of a pretty remarkable community healthcare worker called Morgan.
It was a joyful reunion when our team saw Morgan, this was not the first time we had worked with him and we were glad to be reunited with him. It didn’t take long for him to realise that he could make a change in his community. He demonstrated that he wanted to see change by working alongside the YWAM Medical Ships team, he soaked in the training and asked plenty of questions.
One of the biggest needs in Morgan’s community is for family planning and in the past many of the women in his village had received a contraceptive implant. This helps the family to space their children; reducing the risk of complications during childbirth. However a medical procedure is needed to remove the implant and there was no health worker that was able to do this in the area. Some of the women’s husbands had tried to remove the implants themselves, but their attempts were both unsuccessful and painful. They showed the scars on their arms to Morgan and our healthcare team.
Morgan understands the need for this procedure in his village and had already begun training in implant removals, but wasn’t yet confident. As he worked alongside our teams, his confidence grew quickly and after a few supervised removals he was ready to try on his own! He was successful and very happy with his new learned skill, especially as it meant that the women were not being unnecessarily harmed anymore.
Papua New Guinea has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates. Family planning options make all the difference particularly within very remote regions. Sometimes it can be too difficult for women to get help if they experience complications during childbirth.
The primary healthcare team were able to leave Morgan in Teapopo with some equipment and the knowledge with how to sterilise it. Morgan was able to be a change maker in his community by being willing to learn a new skill. By learning this simple procedure it will encourage more couples to consider the implant as an option as they grow healthy families.
“Written by, Lucy Aylen”