FIONA HENDERSON | The Ballarat Courier
THE STATISTICS ARE SOBERING. One in 20 women in Papua New Guinea die in childbirth. One in 12 children die before the age of five due to malnutrition. And the average life expectancy at birth is just 56 years.
To help change these devastating figures, Ballarat osteopath Megan Fraumano will join the third No Roads to Health expedition in March, aimed at improving the health of communities along the Kokoda Track.
Ms Fraumano walked the track with her family, including her grandparents, in 2009 and said it was a “pretty big eye-opener” to see the locals’ health first hand.
“I assumed access to healthcare would be better than it was,” Ms Fraumano said. “I was pretty surprised by the malnutrition in the kids.
“When I got home, I looked up the stats, such as one in 20 women will die in childbirth.”
Ms Fraumano walked the track using the company, No Roads, which also has health-related treks.
She said the previous two trips mostly included doctors and midwives to help with pregnancy education but she was also planning to focus on another major PNG health issue, osteoarthritis.
Ms Fraumano said the trip would also train local health workers to create sustainable change.