WOMEN in Port Moresby have to cope with bullying and humiliation from the hands of human beings that came into the world through a mother’s womb.
The sentence doesn’t sound rational but that is the way things are in PNG’s national capital.
Our mothers and sisters fear the men in blue cruising around in troop carriers, whipping any Tom, Dick and Harry as if these humans are black stallions in a Melbourne cup.
Women are whipped with fan belts just as hard as the psychopaths caught at Gordon’s market trying to rape a school girl in broad day light.
Rational people wonder what prompted the men in blue to come down so low to whip the mothers with fan belts who toil to make ends meet in an unforgiving society like Port Moresby.
Is PNG Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe? It seems like one at the moment with all this sophistry from the echelons of power.
Anyway, let’s leave these crooks for a while and go to the delivery theatre in the Port Moresby general Hospital.
Mothers are complaining that some of the nursing sisters working in the delivery theatre have adopted the same disgusting behaviour of the thugs I refer to above.
Many of the poor mothers in the settlements fear to go to the theatre to deliver their babies because of the inhuman treatment from some nursing sisters.
Mothers who go in for their second or subsequent child are told to shut up and deliver in silence. If they yell and call for their mother or the angels in their pain they are simply asking for humiliation.
‘When you opened your legs it was fun, why agonise now’ or ‘when you had sex, did you think of your mother? Is it your first time to deliver? Shut up,’ are some common verbal abuses.
‘The slanging is humiliating,’ the mothers lament.
If a wife of a security guard or a buai seller goes in there for a third or fourth baby, she is told bluntly that her husband is a poor man and she needs to deliver this baby and go straight to the doctors for tubal ligation.
If the mother refuses tubal litigation then she is told not to come back if she gets pregnant again. If she tells them of her religious beliefs forbidding tubal litigation she will hear responses like, ‘Will the priest, pastor or imam feed your child?’
PNG is not a welfare state and does not care about how we eat, sleep, and raise our children. It is true that the social indicators reflect badly on the overall livelihood of people in PNG and we need to limit the number of our children to advance the family unit but that has to be communicated to the mothers in a more appropriate way.
Mothers go into the delivery theatre with a lot of problems. Some come from abusive husbands, others might be divorced mothers or HIV positive.
Some come to the delivery theatre with hungry stomachs and no toea in their bilums. They are already overwhelmed with problems and with labour pains. A chorus of humiliating chants and the mothers surely are in hell.
Due to the fear of coercion in the theatre rooms many working class mothers decide to go to the private hospitals, even though they charge hefty fees. The poorer mothers in the city have no choice but to develop a thick skin to cope through the humiliation from their own kind.
The mothers say the men in the delivery theatres are very professional and do their job with diligence. This is a positive for PNG men in the medical profession.
There are some very professional female nursing sisters too and the mothers speak highly of them. A mother reported; ‘I delivered at around 3 am in the morning and the sister was the most humane I ever met. The nurse treated me as if I was her sister.
She helped me deliver, cleaned the baby, dressed her and told me I had a beautiful daughter with a smile. I was happy with her manners and professionalism.
‘Before I moved to the ward I gave her some money in appreciation but she refused to take it and told me to use the money to take a taxi home after being discharged’.
That was a white angel and the mothers say they would like to meet more of her kind in the delivery theatre and not those rude ones.
Our mothers’ ethnic background, their strata, their husband’s profession, their education, size or beauty should not be a factor in how they are treated in the theatre. They must be seen as human beings with a dignity and must be accorded due respect regardless.