Burnet staff have set up tools to assist health education and counselling in Papua New Guinea (PNG), to improve understanding of COVID-19 and address common myths and misinformation.
Set up in Daru, Western Province, the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) supported project is empowering those within the TB-affected community to support their peers through treatment and health promotion.
Burnet and partner organisations were already using similar tools and resources for TB patients, in the RID-TB Peer Education and Counselling Project. As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread in 2020, they have adapted these tools to improve awareness of the novel coronavirus and how to prevent infections.
Image: Lead Counsellor, Allan Kuma providing education with the COVID-19 flipchart to a Daru community member
In response to requests from people on TB treatment and the wider community in Daru for education on COVID-19, the ANCP Patient Education and Counselling team developed a COVID-19 educational flipchart.
The content, which includes information addressing common myths about COVID-19, was created in line with information provided by the PNG National Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The flipchart was approved by the Western Provincial Health Authroity in late March 2020 and has been shared for use by partner organisations.
After their education session one Daru community member said, “The information is very clear and answers a lot of the questions I had.
“I can understand this well because the pictures are self-explanatory, and the information is simple to understand. Thank you.”
Image: Peer Counsellors, Desmond Sampson and Jenny Bodolo, checking the TB Education and Counselling Facebook page together
With approval from the Western Provincial Health Authority, the ANCP Patient Education and Counselling team established a Facebook page which aims to provide TB education and share COVID-19 information with people in Daru and South Fly District.
The page seeks to counter misinformation relating to COVID-19, which has been circulating on social media in PNG. The page has close to 100 followers and one post has reached over 6500 people through ‘shares’ by individuals and other organisations.
As Lead Counsellor Allan Kuma and Peer Counsellor Desmond Sampson said the page was useful to reach the ever-increasing number of Papua New Guineans using social media.
“People who we cannot reach out in the community or anywhere else in the country may have access to Facebook and are educated though our page.”
“Also, when our family members, relatives and friends see our images on the post they will like it and even share the post in their Facebook walls, as well as in Facebook groups they are members of.”