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Village Health Volunteer

village health volunteers are trained to diagnose and find help for diseases that threaten lives, including leprosy, malaria, TB, typhoid, and cholera.

Volunteers transforming lives in Bougainville

The team in Bougainville travels through difficult terrain to make sure no one is missing out on the cure for leprosy. The going is tough, but the work to reach and diagnose people is vital, as many have no access to clinics or hospitals.

One such village is Parami, referred to locally as “the one on the mountain”, and the basic conditions are shocking. The Leprosy Mission team made a difficult journey to meet with the village chief, and talked about training the community to identify leprosy, before the devastating disabilities took hold.

The village chief, John Kuvatonim, was excited about this opportunity then jumped at the chance to be trained in health care and to help his community.

He travelled down from his village and attended the two-week training course organised by the Leprosy Mission team. He stayed in the accommodation provided by the Leprosy Mission and attended classes given by health care professionals every day.

John was taught about basic hygiene and care, also how to spot the signs of leprosy, TB and other illnesses. He learnt all about the treatment options available, why they were so vital and how to access them. 


He is now a village health volunteer and does incredible work in identifying those affected by leprosy and making sure they receive the full course of multi-drug therapy, the cure for leprosy.

He has the training to change lives and he will receive on-going support and training from the Leprosy Mission staff.

John says “I am proud that I have been

trained and I can help people in my village.”

He has already diagnosed leprosy in young people and children meaning they can be cured. Many children in the community with leprosy suffer from self-imposed withdrawal from other children, and fatigue meaning they miss school.  However, if they are cured, they can return to school, receive education and have a much better start in life.

Thanks to John’s training, Eurisder is on the road to recovery.

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    The love of her people and the support from New Zealanders like you is what took one woman's vision and made it into what is today a community-based primary health programme covering 95% of the Bougainville population.
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    The project is helping to establish health care programmes in local communities so that families can take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
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