Monday, October 15, 2012
COMPASS stands for Clinical Outreach, Men’s Programmes, Advocacy and Sexual Health Strengthening – and that is just what this programme has aimed to implement during the last 5 years in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Two remaining months will see the end of this project and the handover of many of the components to other PNG stakeholders. Building the capacity of in-country partners so they can continue the work that has been started is always a desirable outcome.
Component One of the COMPASS project, on which FPI is focussed, is the Men and Boys programme. The aim of this component is to ‘raise awareness and positive change among men and boys on sexual health and related behaviours’.
There are a number of success stories to share from this component. One of the greatest to showcase is the professional development of the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) resources, many now with approval from the PNG National Department of Health (NDoH).
The COMPASS manual is another jewel in the crown. It has demanded almost four years of graft and collaboration between Family Planning International New Zealand, PNG NDoH and other partners.
In July 2012 it received the final stamp of approval to be printed and distributed. Not only that, but the quality of this manual is high enough for the PNG NDoH HIV Medical Advisor to recommend this manual to other organisations to use.
It is common in development settings for individual organisations to develop their own resources, resulting in a plethora of sometimes poor quality, inappropriate material being distributed. So this recommendation is indeed a ‘feather in the cap’ for the project.
Close IEC runner up is the ‘Trupela Man’ DVD (available on YouTube and as a brochure). So who is the ‘Trupela Man’? He is a ‘Real Man’. In the COMPASS project over the years, the team have identified seven messages - ways, that a man in PNG can become a Trupela Man or Real Man to try and improve male behaviour in relationships.
For example, the first Trupela Man message is that ‘the Trupela Man uses a condom during sex to prevent STI and HIV transmission’. The ‘Trupela Man’ image has resonated with the PNG male and there have been success stories where men have changed their behaviour to become ‘Trupela Men’.
Although this project ends at the end of 2012, it is the aim that the great work of preceding years (including the resources developed) will sustain and embed this programme into the PNG health system. Not only for the benefit of men and boys but for the entire communities in PNG.