Burnet Institute Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist Lisa Davidson and participants at the launch of Tau Durua in Port Moresby
Burnet Institute has launched a new set of interactive activities, Tau Durua (We Care), to give young men in Papua New Guinea the confidence, knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about sexual health, alcohol and drug use and respectful relationships.
Funded by the Australian Government, the activities encourage young men to be open and truthful about their feelings and experiences, discuss ‘taboo’ topics, laugh, explore and have fun while learning.
Activities such as Spin the Bottle Game of Chance encourage young men to consider the possible consequences of their behaviour on the health and wellbeing of themselves and others.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist at Burnet Institute, Lisa Davidson said the activities are designed to bring about behaviour change through promoting self-reflection.
“We know this strategy is more effective than simply lecturing young men about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong,” Ms Davidson said.
IMAGE: The Tau Durua interactive health kit
Dr Paison Dakulala, Deputy Secretary, NDoH, attended the launch and praised the Burnet Institute for focussing on the specific health needs of men folk.
At the launch, the activities were demonstrated by young men from the Salvation Army and City Mission. One of the participants, David Karaka from City Mission, said he particularly enjoys the focus on storytelling and ‘learning by doing’.
Young men and young women have different health needs that require targeted information and services. Therefore the Australian Government is supporting health initiatives, such as this one, that integrate a gender perspective.
The kit was designed in response to surveys with young men from sporting clubs in Port Moresby. The young men reported feeling disengaged from health service provision particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive health.
The majority of health care providers at a clinic level are female and young men reported that this made it difficult for them to openly and honestly discuss sexual health.
IMAGE: Tau Durua launch participants from The Salvation Army and City Mission draw lots to play
Many young men felt these services are designed specifically to meet the needs of women. They also reported that it is very difficult for unmarried men to access any type of sexual and reproductive health counselling.
The National Department of Health has an increased focus on men’s unique health needs through the creation of a specialist Men’s Health Unit. Sebastian Robert, Coordinator of the Unit, provided the opening comments at the launch, welcoming this new initiative.
The Australian Government has supported this project under ANCP – the Australian NGO Cooperation Program. Under ANCP, the Australian Government funds Australian NGOs such as Burnet Institute to implement development activities in our region.