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Profile: Almah Kuambu—Breaking Down Barriers in Papua New Guinea


Every International Women’s Day (8th March) the World Bank Pacific recognizes and celebrates the extraordinary women creating change, breaking down barriers and supporting their communities all across the region. Almah Kuambu is one of these women. She is the Technical Advisor to the National Orthotic & Prosthetic Services in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and knows firsthand the challenges people in PNG face when living with a disability. She was disabled at age 11 and uses a prosthetic leg herself.

Yet Almah has never let her disability hold her back: “Growing up with my physical disability was challenging, but my parents inspired me to keep pressing forward and not to give up. My father has been the main driving force behind me because he believed that I had the potential to be just like my siblings despite my physical disability.”

Her father encouraged her to study, to be strong and independent, a lesson she has demonstrated throughout her life. Almah went on to study at the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics and after graduating joined the PNG National Department of Health in 2012. She worked on various Australian Aid projects before becoming the Technical Advisor for the National Orthotic and Prosthetic Service in 2017.

"My job is about improving the quality of life for people with mobility disabilities."
Almah Kuambu
Technical Advisor to the National Orthotic & Prosthetic Services in PNG

Almah’s dedication to her job is evident: “Each day, I try to provide the best technical advice to the department and work with other partners, locally and internationally, to build and strengthen existing systems for assistive technologies … having support from my superiors inspires me each day to keep working. My job is about improving the quality of life for people with mobility disabilities. This is quite demanding and it’s challenging as the service is not available in all provincial health authorities across the country.”  

Almah continues to break down barriers for women and for people living with disabilities as she advocates for rights and encourages and builds up her colleagues. When asked what she hopes for Pacific women of the future, she said: “That Pacific women are protected, their rights are promoted and respected, and equal opportunity is given to all regardless of gender, age or disability.”

The incredible work Almah and the other trail-blazing women are doing now is making this hope more a reality.

To learn more about the fantastic work women are doing all over the Pacific visit the World Bank IWD2020 page.