Megan aims to make a medical difference

ONE in 20 women in Papua New Guinea die in childbirth.

One in 12 children die before the age of five due to malnutrition.

And the average life expectancy at birth is just 56 years.

To help fight these statistics, Ballarat osteopath Megan Fraumano will join the third No Roads to Health expedition in March, aimed at improving the health of local communities along the Kokoda Track.

Ms Fraumano walked the track with her family, including her grandparents, in 2009 and said it was a "pretty big eye-opener" to see the locals' health firsthand.

"I was amazed by it. I assumed access to healthcare would be better than it was," Ms Fraumano said.

"I was pretty surprised by the malnutrition in the kids. When I got home I looked up the stats, such as one in 20 women will die in childbirth."

Ms Fraumano walked the track using the company, No Roads, which also has health related treks.

"I always had it on the backburner to do but then someone pulled out of the trip in March so I've quickly organised to go."

She said the previous two trips mostly included doctors and midwives to help with pregnancy education but she was also planning to focus on another major PNG health issue, osteoarthritis.

"It's teaching them the little things we take for granted, like the basic stretches we learn in primary school."

Ms Fraumano said the trip would also train local health workers to create sustainable change.

A fundraiser for Ms Fraumano will be held at the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute on Saturday, March 1 at 3pm.

It will include a screening of the documentary, I Am A Girl, which looks at growing up as a girl in different countries, and a performance by 10 visiting No Roads porters, who will also answer questions afterwards.

All funds raised will go towards covering expedition costs and medical supplies.

Tickets cost $25 and to buy a ticket, or make a donation, go to www.iamagirl.com.au.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: No Roads to Health fundraiser

WHERE: Ballaarat Mechanics Institute

WHEN: Saturday, March 1 at 3pm

WHO: I Am A Girl documentary and No Roads porter performance

COST: $25

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