UN Agencies Continue Support to COVID Prevention and Control Across PNG
Since March 2020, The United Nations in Papua New Guinea has been supporting national efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID pandemic.
UN support to the COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea has been led by WHO and UNICEF, who are assisting the PNG Government in emergency and humanitarian coordination, clinical management and procurement, risk communications and community engagement, protection and secondary impacts, and socio-economic impact and recovery.
In 2021 we will be welcoming the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and work with our partners to set a path for recovery, including socio-economic assessments and support to the hardest hit populations.
The weekly COVID-19 National situation report, jointly published by NDOH and WHO, details the scope of the pandemic in PNG and the national response effort. More information on UN assistance provided in 2020 is available at papuanewguinea.un.org.
Here is a look at what we've been doing around the country in March.
Kiunga, Western Province
IOM Installs Handwash Stations at Kiunga Airport, Improves Toilet Facilities in Western Province
IOM completed a comprehensive rehabilitation of the toilet facilities at Kiunga Airport, creating a safer environment for travelers. The team installed a handwash station on entry.
The team installed latrines in several locations including schools, health facilities and local communities, benefitting at least 8,949 people. Installations of solar panels and accessories across several communities has improved lighting of common areas around latrines. This additional light improves the safety especially of women and girls when accessing the facilities at night. IOM estimates this initiative will improve the safety of over 30,000 people in Western Province.
UNFPA Delivers PPE to Kiunga Hospital, Customised Dignity Kits
With the given surge of covid 19 cases, UNFPA supplied various essential PPE to Kiunga Hospital, Western Province and Port Moresby General Hospital. These include 500 reusable face shields, 500 long sleeve gowns, 15,000 examination gloves, 2000 surgical gloves, 30,000 disposal facemask, 300 protective goggles and 44 thermometers. UNFPA locally procured 600 customised Dignity Kits enroute to Kiunga, Western Province.
IOM Provides WASH Supplies to Communities and Defence Personnel in Western Province
IOM distributed soap and water containers to 1,203 people in Western Province, with additional wheelie bins (25), dust bins (14), hand gloves (24) and rubber boots (24). The team supplied collapsible water containers, tents and sleeping bags to the PNG Defence Force Forward Operating Base in Kiunga that is responsible for monitoring points of entry along PNG’s Western Border.
Tari, Hela Province
UNFPA Supports Emergency Response, Provides PPE and Dignity Kits
UNFPA procured and distributed 400 Dignity Kits to displaced women and girls that were affected by the inter-clan violence in Tari Pori District. UNFPA procured 800 PPE to support the participants of a Gender Based Violence in Emergency training and staff at Tari Hospital.
Through the emergency response projects, UNFPA, in partnership with PNG Family Health Association and Hela Provincial Health Authority, established sexual and reproductive health mobile clinics at four sites in Tari, Hela Province to support and provide services to internally displaced women and girls as well as the host community who cannot access the main hospital freely due to ongoing insecurity. Currently the team is conducting training on Minimum Initial Service Package in Tari to 9 males and 8 females with plans to conduct Clinical Management of Rape Training in April. Providing PPE ensures these essential services can remain open and operate safely.
“On a daily basis, we check if the IDP [Internally Displaced People] have any sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), rape cases, pregnant mothers or injuries," sais Sister Mae Lohis, team leader of one of PNG Family Health Association's mobile clinics in Tari. "We are providing the necessary care that they should receive during this time of crisis, including awareness raising on safe sex, family planning, and teenage pregnancies.”
Support to People Living with HIV
UNAIDS works with COVID19-HIV Crisis Group on Support to PLHIV
Together with the COVID19-HIV Crisis Group, including WHO, NDoH, World Vision, USAID, and FHI360, UNAIDS is ensuring services for PLHIV continue to operate during the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The team is also working on messaging surrounding the vaccine for PLHIV and key populations.
With high level of COVID 19 vaccine hesitancy and misconceptions among PLHIV and key populations, UNAIDS have developed a short vaccine acceptability survey deployed by the KP consortium in late March. From the results, the current FAQs will be revised and targeted for this population.
Support to Emergency Services
UNDP Procures Additional Ambulances, Delivers Training to Frontline Medics
UNDP is partnering with the national ambulance service, St John’s Ambulance, to upgrade of a number of ambulances across the country with support from the Government of India. Progress the procurement of new ambulances which will be greatly strengthen the capacity of Papua New Guinea’s health system to respond to COVID’s impacts. A funding agreement with
UNDP has also supported training of frontline medics and the procurement of additional medical equipment to support an expansion of services. This will also contribute to broader strengthening of the health system.
UN agencies have secured funding from Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, United States and the World Bank. Additional support was provided through the UN Secretary General’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 which ensures UN activities can reach the most at-risk populations during this pandemic. The UN is also engaging with donors to re-programme funding where relevant.