Achieveing the MDG's in Remote Villages of Papua New Guinea
“I have lived a long life. It’s been hard. I have seen too many women die while giving birth, or while on their way to seek medical help, children die because we could not get to a hospital on time. The nearest hospital is too far away. And to go, we needed car, and to go in a car, we needed roads.”
Namba Mel is in her eighties. In a voice laden with emotion and gratitude she recalled life in this remote village of Trolga in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands Province. She is one of the beneficiaries of the Millennium Village Development Pilot Project in Papua New Guinea, a pilot initiative funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea in an effort to help the government accelerate its achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) at the local level.
“She is weeping with joy and gratitude", explained Ruth, programme manager for this project. Namba was echoing the pain and hardship of 85% of Papua New Guinea’s 3.7 million people who live in remote geographical locations with poor infrastructure and services".
Namba Mel talks again with big excitement to explain that this community "turned their pain and hardship into something positive, looking at what they could use and do to help themselves. Thanks to the EU we can now use our locally available resources and skills. We built a bush material health centre, three health staff housing, an 11km road and 12 bridges. We then lobbied the provincial health authority to register it the centre as a sub-health centre. This centre serves over 8000 population of Trolga and surrounding villages. All this is astonishing".
Bruce Kumin and Ruth Kumin, health professionals who played a key role in making this happen add: “It was a major undertaking. It took a lot of sweat, pain and guts. But, we did it” says Ruth, who runs the sub-health centre said: “It will mean so much to the people who have dreamed of this for so long.” The Communities are very grateful to the European Union who is helping to change people’s lives through assistance like this.”
Trolga is one of four villages that will benefit from grants of 150,000 EUR. Around 5000 people, in particular women are going to directly benefit from these projects but the flow on effects will help more. The villages cover a wide geographic area. The other three villages are Domil in Jiwaka Province, Sibalai in Milne Bay Province and Mussendai in East Sepik Province.