Papua New Guinea: How witchcraft impacts health in PNG

When Mary got sick, residents in her remote highland village in Papua New Guinea (PNG) didn’t take her to the doctor, but to a traditional healer with magical powers instead.

“They said a witch had put a curse on me. They had to remove it. Had they not brought me to the nearest health clinic, however, I could have died,” the 45-year old said.

Such stories are not uncommon in PNG, a largely tribal society of over 800 languages where a longstanding traditional belief in witchcraft or “sanguma” as it is known in Tok Pisin, the local language, continues to undermine healthcare in the country.

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