Hygiene is a critical issue on Kiriwina and this affects all inhabitants, including the women and babies. To help address this issue we have formed the CFK Health & Hygiene Committee. There are 16 members (7 women and 7 men with one male and one female co-ordinator) all based on Kiriwina. The committee meets monthly to collate data and allocate points to the cleanest village. At the end of the year there will be a celebration and the awarding of prizes for the best kept village.
This program instills discipline, team work and pride within the community. There have been improvements in lifestyle and it has created a sense of ownership of healthy living and clean community. Toks Bwaina (In-country CFK manager)
CFK has supplied the committee members with torches to patrol at night to make sure there is no defecation in the wrong places. Moving forward, as there are no dedicated toilet facilities we are researching the installation of compostible toilets and more water pumps. Part of the VBA training includes the importance of good hygiene and hand washing and hygiene equipment is included in the birthing kits we supply. The VBA’s report that they are thrilled with the supply and distribution of the washable menstrual pads and underpants that we have been trialling.
The women said they have been used and they are very helpful to the women. They said the women can use and then wash with hot water to be used again. The pants have been also given to women to use. Ruth Boaz (Co-head VBA)
UNICEF says that adolescent girls in school suffer the most when they are menstruating. Many schools report absenteeism among adolescent girls due to a lack of clean, private changing rooms and without access to soap, water and sanitary pads. Some stay away from school for a few days. This hampers girls’ learning – they miss classes and they attend classes with reduced self-esteem and dignity.