5 Nov 2013

Oxfam keen to explain basic health issues in PNG

2:55 pm on 5 November 2013

Oxfam New Zealand says if it can help increase the level of understanding about basic health in Papua New Guinea, it may help prevent the deaths and torture of people who have been accused of sorcery.

Its Communications Manager, Jason Garman, who visited Goroka, says if anyone dies, it's common for people to get accused of sorcery and blamed for the death, and they are often attacked, tortured and killed.

Mr Garman says Oxfam is trying to get people accused of sorcery to safety, help get them medical attention, and try to move them to a safe place.

He says the work around hygiene education and teaching about how people get sick will also help with a long term solution.

"If we can actually help increase the level of understanding of basic health, and more people understand that when someone dies it's not because a spell was cast on them but it's because they got a preventable disease, diarrhea, or cholera, then that helps the sorcery situation in the long term. The more people that can understand that there are logical, scientific reasons for why people die, then the less and less it will be acceptable to accuse people of sorcery."

The Oxfam New Zealand Communications Manager, Jason Garman.