THE PNG Family Planning Health Association is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which is focused on family planning, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS counselling, abortion counselling and gender based problems. The association’s Program Officer Jennifer John said the organisation was started in 1996 and is based in Lae at the Central Arcade, Top Town. It is an associate member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation which is an international organisation that helps them with technical support, finance and logistics. She said they have community-based programs in the rural areas of Morobe including Bulolo, Huon, Nawaeb, Markham and Finschaffen that are aimed at awareness for family planning and sexual health. The program includes training rural councillors to help the people in the community and the distribution of family planning methods which include condoms, pills and injection which is aimed at assisting for proper family planning. “We do not perform abortions for women but we give them counselling before or after they have an abortion,” she stressed. Last year, the organisation employed a male Health Extension Officer who takes care of men’s sexual health and clinical services for men. They also perform men and boy’s outreach which addresses issues like drinking, drug abuse, and sexual behaviours affecting relationships. “We have seen positive results from this outreach which saw the men accompanying their wives for family planning counselling and helping their wives when going to the hospital,” she said. She said family planning still remains a sensitive issue where some men are not supportive towards their wives who would want to use the family planning methods. “We need to educate our men so they will understand that family planning is not for the women only but it needs the support of the men when their wives would want to take it up,” she said.
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