13 Apr 2011

Young women on Bougainville discuss sexual health for first time

2:06 pm on 13 April 2011

The head of a Bougainville women's NGO says a recent gathering of young women gave some of them their first opportunity to discuss their gynaecological and sexual health.

Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency's Helen Hakena says the meeting last weekend looking at empowering young Bougainville women under a United Nations Resolution highlighted the prevalence of extra-marital affairs and sexually transmitted infections.

Ms Hakena says the women have decided to form a new group, the Generation Next Club, which will meet monthly to discuss health and other concerns.

"It's a daily occurrence here on Bougainville, husbands leaving their young wives and having multiple partners, which is a big concern because of the STI rate here. WHO did a survey here on my island, in Halia, and the entire youth population were affected with STIs so the young women from that region were all concerned that they would be affected by their boyfriends or by their husbands as well."

Helen Hakena says her agency plans to have a doctor present at the women's next meeting.