Inconsistent accessibility of health services for women in rural areas of Papua New Guinea motivated Zuabe Tinning to undertake her Master of Public Health (Honours) at AUT, which she completed in 2014.
Zuabe’s research focused on the perceptions of community-based family planning of women in the rural Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea.
“I wanted to know how satisfied rural women were with the Family Planning contraception service through community volunteers in their villages.
“My findings showed the volunteers provided efficient and cost-effective services of contraception in the villages. It helped that the volunteers shared the same language and culture and they also assisted in other health problems.”
While Zuabe was conducting her research, the women she interviewed told her of a need for a birthing house in the village. This is now a project Zuabe is undertaking with her 2016 Greg Urwin Scholarship in one of the rural districts of Morobe.
Zuabe says culture is an important part of indigenous communities. When introducing health concepts into rural indigenous communities, it is important to respect their beliefs and values.
“While working with the rural population for more than five years, I see that indigenous people are strongly rooted in their cultural beliefs and values. Understanding and respecting this is the first step for them to adopt modern concepts that will pave the way for change and development in the community.”
Zuabe loves working with rural communities and finding ways that are convenient for them to adapt and improve.
“I am interested in community participatory action planning to improve rural communities’ accessibility to basic services such as health and education.
“I believe my research will enable outsiders to understand that there’s still value in our cultural structures and practices. Foreign concepts should not totally change our way of doing things, but instead should be incorporated into our existing cultural structures.”