DAISY TANIOVA PAWA
EIGHTEEN male participants have graduated from a week-long workshop to become community-based advocates for awareness on sexually-transmitted illnesses (STIs), HIV and AIDS and violence against women.
The participants came from settlements and villages from One-Mile to Nadzab.
They were handpicked through awareness programmes that were carried out by Clinical Outreach, Men’s Programme, Advocacy and Sexual Health Services Strengthening (COMPASS).
The graduation was held at 10-Mile in the National Agriculture Research Institute’s Allan Quartermain Hall last Friday and was witnessed by People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
A doctor and volunteer for COMPASS programme said he was pleased with the number of participants who attended the workshop and commended them for the stand they took against domestic violence.
He added that it was proof that Papua New Guinean men wanted to change their lifestyles.
He told the graduates that “in order for them to become effective advocates, they had to first make changes in their own lives in the way they treated their wives and children.”
He said implementation of the training could be carried out through “awareness, speaking from person to person and through advocac”.
A female Government worker living with HIV/AIDS told the participants that she was a victim of domestic violence.
She acquired HIV/AIDS from her late husband who has died of the disease.
She said the PLWHAs were now engaged in a new programme called GIPHA, which calls for greater involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS in programmes such as COMPASS.
She encouraged the participants to become role models for the men of PNG, as the rate of violence against women and children was increasing.
COMPASS is a component of the PNG Australia Sexual Health Improvement Programme (PASHIP) whose goal is to reduce HIV in PNG by reducing STI prevalence in East Sepik, East New Britain and Morobe provinces.