Saving PNG lives with better health centres and more medicines

Media release


1 October 2011

The Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank are teaming up to save an estimated 1.2 million people, through a much needed boost to rural health services in Papua New Guinea.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd made the announcement during a visit to the health centre in Abau District in PNG’s Central province today.

“Some 80 per cent of the population in PNG live in rural and very remote areas where health services are poor or non-existent, and they are dying of preventable and treatable diseases,” Mr Rudd said.

“Children in villages are dying from pneumonia and women are dying in childbirth at the rate of five a day in PNG, many of them in rural or remote areas.”

In 2010, only 70 per cent of all aid posts were open and a shortage of drugs and resources limit the operation of the health facilities and outreach patrols. Only 50 per cent of all health facilities have running water to the delivery room.

The $80 million Asia Development Bank project, to which Australia is contributing $40 million, will deliver 32 new community health posts, refurbish 128 health centres and provide housing for 224 staff.

Each of these rural health facilities centres will have 24-hour running water and electricity, sanitation facilities and critical medical equipment. In-service training will also be provided to community health workers in areas such as maternal health and clinical supervision.

The project will also establish service delivery partnerships with churches and the private sector and improve the skills of health workers in 16 districts across eight provinces in PNG.

In addition Australia will provide a further $24 million to purchase medical supplies such as vaccines and birthing kits for all 3,000 health centres and aid posts in 2012.

Media enquiries

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