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Development assistance in Papua New Guinea

Flag of Papua New Guinea

Health security in Papua New Guinea

Under the Papua New Guinea COVID-19 Development Response Plan (2020-2022) Australia has reprioritised a large portion of our development assistance to support PNG to prevent, detect and respond to the virus, and underpin PNG’s economic resilience.

Along with our response to COVID-19, Australia continues to invest in the PNG health sector across three health outcomes:

  • improved prevention, detection and response to high burden communicable disease and health security threats
  • improved rural primary health care through stronger health systems, including through better use of PNG’s own financial and human resources
  • integrated family planning, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services.

Improved prevention, detection and response to high burden communicable disease and health security threats

Australia is playing a key role in supporting PNG’s COVID19 response. COVID19 has underlined the importance of effective health systems. Under this pillar, the focus will be on: (i) the prevention, detection of COVID19, while also continuing our work in other communicable diseases, including malaria, HIV, and TB; and (ii) support to Provincial Health Authorities to improve delivery of primary health care services, including immunisation coverage, maternal and child health, access to family planning and other services. Our focus on government services will be balanced with support for NGO and church-led services, and ensuring marginalised groups including people with disabilities can access health services.

On 17 March 2021, the Australian Government announced a package of support to help PNG respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases. As part of this package, Australia will provide 8,000 vaccine doses for frontline health workers and a deployment of AUSMAT health specialists to assist with health emergency management and vaccine preparations. Surge support funding and technical assistance for provincial health authorities and the COVID19 National Control Centre (NCC) will bolster the public health response. This support will provide new infrastructure for the National Capital District Provincial Health Authority, including an Emergency Triage and Acute Treatment Temporary Facility at the Port Moresby General Hospital, reopening the 45-bed capacity Rita Flynn Testing and Isolation Facility, and funding St John’s PNG to establish Taurama Aquatic Centre as an isolation facility for up to 120 mild COVID‑19 patients. Australia will also provide essential medical equipment, consumables and PPE supplies, including 200,000 face masks and 1 million surgical masks, and work with the WHO to expand warehouse capacity to increase storage for PPE and streamline its distribution. Support will be provided to scale up testing and surveillance, including testing of samples in Australia when needed and funding St John’s PNG to operate drive through and walk in testing centres.

This package of additional assistance is on top of over AUD 60 million already provided to support PNG’s COVID-19 response  and the AUD144.6 million committed to PNG  under the AUD500 million initiative to Support countries in our region , to access and roll-out safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. This initiative aims to ensure that PNG can achieve full COVID-19 vaccine coverage. Australia will work with PNG to identify priority gaps, needs and issues in planning for COVID-19 vaccine procurement, access and delivery.  This is in addition to Australia’s contribution of $80 million for global efforts to help our region to access vaccines, including through the COVAX Facility and its Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for the benefit of high-risk populations in developing countries.

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PNG-Australia Transition to Health (PATH)

Papua New Guinea-Australia Transition to Health (PATH)is Australia’s primary bilateral health delivery mechanism, valued at $200 million over 5 years (2020 to 2025). PATH commenced in October 2020 and supports Government of PNG’s National Health Plan to ‘strengthen primary health care for all and improve service delivery for rural majority and urban disadvantaged.’ PATH will manage ongoing programs, such as Australia’s support towards PNG’s emergency tuberculosis response, malaria and routine immunisation in PNG. Our support under PATH will focus on specific Provincial Health Authorities (PHAs), namely Western, Western Highlands, West Sepik, East New Britain, Morobe and Bougainville.

The PATHprogramreplaces the 8-year Health and HIV Implementing Service Provider (HHISP).

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Investment Design Document for the PNG-Australia Transition to Health Program 2019 Design

Rural Primary Health Services Delivery Project and its successor program, the Health Services Sector Development Program

Australia supports the Asian Development Bank (ADB) led Rural Primary Health Services Delivery Project (2012-2021) and its successor program, Health Services Sector Development Program (HSSDP). The program delivers essential health infrastructure and strengthens health systems through targeted professional development and training, particularly at the provincial level. HSSDP activities include: the construction of 17 health facilities (4 district hospitals, 8 health centres and 5 community health posts) in 17 districts across 14 provinces in PNG and the roll-out of the electronic National Health Information System to all Provincial Health Authorities across PNG.

Related links

Health Services Sector Development Program: Additional Financing Report

ANGAU Hospital

The redevelopment of ANGAU Memorial Hospital in Lae is a flagship of Australia’s development program in PNG, and last remaining commitment under the 2013 Joint Understanding between Australian and PNG on Further Bilateral Cooperation on Health, Education and Law and Order.  ANGAU is scheduled to be handed over in 2021 as one of PNG’s best hospitals. To ensure it delivers to its potential, we have invested in extensive governance, financial management and planning support, as well as redevelopment of the Lae School of Nursing and five health care facilities across Morobe province.

Related links

Redevelopment of ANGAU Hospital to bring improved health care services

Accelerated Immunisation and Health Systems Strengthening Program

Australia is partnering with New Zealand and Gavi on a joined-up approach to building health system capacity to increase immunisation coverage. The initiative aims to provide routine vaccinations to up to 80 per cent of children in 12 provinces within three years (2019-2022) through strengthening primary healthcare systems, leading to enhanced immunisation service delivery including in remote communities.

DFAT-WHO PNG Bilateral Partnership

Australia is providing AU$11.4 million (2018-2022) to support the work of WHO across PNG on a range of health priorities.  The partnership aims to supplement PNG’s technical capacity on disease outbreak control, tuberculosis, maternal health and improving access to essential medicines.

Related links

WHO country profile: Papua New Guinea

UNICEF Saving Lives Spreading Smiles Program (SSLS)

Saving Lives, Spreading Smiles (SLSS) program is aimed at preventing and managing the most common causes of neonatal mortality and improve maternal health through better antenatal care, safer delivery and better care after birth. Australia has provided AU$2.9 million over three years (2018-2021), in partnership with the National Department of Health, United Nations agencies, NGOs and civil society. The SLSS is targeting 11 provinces, with support currently being provided in Western Highlands, Western, East New Britain, Manus, New Ireland, Lae and Enga.

Related links

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Independent Evaluation of DFAT's Multilateral Partnerships in the Health Sector of PNG and management response 2017 Independent evaluation

Marie Stopes – Susu Mamas PNG (PNG Partnerships Fund)

Australia is providing AU$23 million (2017-2022) to Marie Stopes and Susu Mamas to reduce maternal mortality, infant mortality, neonatal mortality and under five mortality in PNG, through increased coverage and uptake of high-quality, integrated sexual and reproductive health, family planning and maternal and child health services for women, men, adolescents (aged 15-19), people with disabilities and victims of gender-based violence. The program targets 13 provinces (NCD, West New Britain, Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka, Morobe, Enga, Bougainville, Simbu, Madang, East New Britain, Milne Bay, East Sepik and Hela). 

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Australia – China – Papua New Guinea Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control

The Australia-China-Papua New Guinea Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control Project (Phase 1) is a unique collaboration between PNG, China and Australia that commenced in 2016. The second phase of the initiative commenced in January 2020. The partnership aims to improve the capacity of PNG’s health system to reduce the malaria burden, and to identify opportunities for enhanced cooperation on health security.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Australia, China and Papua New Guinea Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control Project (The Trilateral Malaria Project) independent mid term review and joint management response 2018 Review and management response

Support to combat TB and drug-resistant TB in Western Province and National Capital District (NCD)

Australia is the largest donor to TB services in PNG and has provided over AU$80 million since 2011 in support to Western Province and National Capital District to help combat drug resistant TB, in partnership with a range of stakeholders, including Burnet Institute, WHO and World Vision. Our funding also contributes to the World Bank Emergency TB project (approx. $15 million) for procurement, grant and technical support to PNG’s TB response nationally.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Review of DFAT support to TB response in Papua New Guinea from 2011 -2018: Management response 2019 Review and management response

Related links

The World Bank Emergency Tuberculosis Project

Other global and regional support

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a unique public-private partnership that improves access to new and under-used vaccines in low-income countries by using incentives to shape vaccine markets and prices. Gavi supported vaccines tackle the most common causes of childhood illness and death, delivering on Australia’s interests by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction through health security.

Australia’s partnership with Gavi is delivering strong results for countries in our region, including an exceptional package of assistance for PNG.

PNG is also eligible for support from the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC). The COVAX AMC will enable low- and lower-middle income countries to access affordable COVID-19 vaccines for up to 20 per cent of their populations in its first phase to end 2021, addressing the acute phase of the pandemic. It will benefit high-risk groups such as health workers and the elderly.

Related links

Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security (IPCHS)

The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security supports Regional Health Security in the Indo-Pacific. It works with partner governments, global and regional bodies, donors, institutions and the private sector to anticipate, avert and arrest outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, and the growth of drug resistance. This is being achieved by strengthening national and regional health systems, facilitating regional collaboration and developing regional public goods. PNG is the single biggest recipient of assistance through this regional program.

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