The National, Tuesday October 29th, 2013
TWO villages on Lihir Island, in New Ireland, have enabled Papua New Guinea to gain recognition internationally from the World Health Organisation for producing the best healthy island concept proposal.
The two Lihirian villages –Sianos and Samo – recently won a support grant of $20,000 from WHO as part of its Healthy Islands Recognition awards.
The award was received by Health Secretary, Pascoe Kase from WHO Western Pacific regional director Dr Shin Young-Soo.
The villages submitted a proposal with technical support from the Lihir Islands Community Health Programme (LICHIP) and Lihir sub-district, which supports health activities promoted on the island.
The proud communities of Sianos and Samo will use the money to help them improve their community with projects like toilet construction, water supply, drainage and backfilling of swampy area for a proposed new community hall.
LICHIP officers said Sianos had long been a model village for the communities of Lihir, demonstrating what could be achieved when communities took responsibility for the health of their people and their environment.
The beginning of the healthy village activities in Sianos goes back to 2004 when the concept was initially introduced during outreach activities conducted by Lihir Gold Limited, the then mine operator on Lihir.
Reports from LICHIP said at the there was a high incidence of malaria and filariasis in the village and surrounding areas, and the Healthy Village Concept was recommended as an approach to curbing the spread of those diseases.
Local residents undertook their first Healthy Village Concept training, facilitated by the PNG Department of Health, in 2005. Since they began, the community saw a significant drop in the number of cases of filariasis and malaria cases.