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Family Planning
Skinner-Jones, Ann
Date Created and/or Issued
Summer 1981
Contributing Institution
UC San Diego, The UC San Diego Library
Ann Skinner-Jones and Joan Larcom Photographs
Rights Information
Under copyright
Constraint(s) on Use: This work is protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Use of this work beyond that allowed by "fair use" requires written permission of the copyright holder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and any use and distribution of this work rests exclusively with the user and not the UC San Diego Library. Inquiries can be made to the UC San Diego Library program having custody of the work.
Use: This work is available from the UC San Diego Library. This digital copy of the work is intended to support research, teaching, and private study.
Rights Holder and Contact
Skinner-Jones, Ann
The local clinic was staffed with Mewun women trained as nurses and other health workers. A training school for nurses operates alongside the hospital in Port Vila, and the clinic also recognizes uses of custom medicine. Family planning posters in the women's ward of the Boyd Memorial Clinic at Wintua point out the toll babies take on their older sisters, to whom much of the infant care falls. Another poster supports breast feeding. In the 1980's, health workers regularly carried family planning information to other Mewun villages, and their audience was typically entirely male with women listening through the bamboo walls of meeting places. The most convincing argument against numerous children during these meetings was the health of married women. Every man dreaded losing his wife because there was a chronic shortage of women in South West Bay. Melanesians tend to have more male than female children and the gap between the genders is wider than the global norm. Research from a census of Mewun suggested this statistic was not caused by female infanticide or benign neglect of girls. Even at the beginning of Anthropologist Joan Larcom's field work in 1973, clinic health policies didn't favor women. For example, no woman was allowed to discuss family planning with medical staff without their spouse present. Whether this was ni-Vanuatu or colonialist in origin, men definitely welcomed many more children than did their wives. In a community with no roads, more kin meant a larger production unit, or more laborers ready to bring crops to the coast where they could be sold to the cooperative society or a passing ship.
UC San Diego Library, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0175 (
No linguistic content; Not applicable
Medical care
Cooperative societies
Family planning services
Pacific Islands
South West Bay (Malakula, Vanuatu)
Wintua (Malekula, Vanuatu)
Influences of Outsiders
Women at Work
Pacific Islands
South West Bay (Malakula, Vanuatu)
Wintua (Malekula, Vanuatu)

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