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Abstract

Papua New Guinea has one of the highest fertility rates and lowest usage rates of modern contraceptives in the Pacific, especially in rural areas. Provision of modern family planning services in rural indigenous communities is challenged by geographic distance, organizational logistics, sparse human service resourcing issues, and lack of integration and understanding of the diversity of PNG’s indigenous knowledge and practices around reproductive health. Face-to-face interviews followed by two focus group discussions were held with 14 purposively sampled indigenous women and two community volunteers, aiming to explore their experiences of what were termed “modern family planning practices” and the perceived impact of these on indigenous social structures. Narratives showed mixed impacts including women’s increased sense of wellbeing and control over their bodies; better childbirth spacing benefitting childrearing and family economic demands; concerns over sustainability of village health services; and frustration about perceived lack of collaborative consultation between service providers and community leadership.

Note on the Author

Sari Andajani-Sutjahjo, PhD. School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Zuabe Manguruc Tinning, Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Lae City, Papua New Guinea

John F Smith, Postgraduate Tropical Medicine Program & Office of Academic Affairs, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.

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