UNICEF's Country Programme
While children hold an important place in the culture and traditions of Papua New Guinea, they face daily struggles and an uncertain future. Challenges lie in all areas; from going to school, to finding health services, and feeling safe at home. These problems prevent them from enjoying their childhood and their rights to which they are entitled. Widespread poverty, declining health and social services, and inaccessibility to places and people in need, are all factors crippling children’s development.
Traditional culture is being eroded as more people are drifting to the cities, with many young people unable to find jobs. High levels of frustration lead to crime and violence, while many children are exposed to abuse and sexual exploitation. Children are also vulnerable to diseases, especially malaria, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases and more recently HIV and AIDS, which has reached epidemic proportions. These issues are threatening the basic right of children to have a healthy, happy and safe childhood.
Despite these challenges, some progress has been made by UNICEF working with Government and other key development partners.
In 2009 alone, significant achievements were made;
• Lukautim Pikinini Act (Child) Act 2009 was passed, an important step forward in rights based child protection legislation
• Universal Basic Education Plan (UBE) was launched accompanied by a declaration from the Government to abolish school fees for elementary education from 2010.
• 500 school children and 3000 people benefited from access to safe water and improved sanitation through the installation of Water and Environment Sanitation (WES) equipment including 36 rainwater catchment systems, 108 latrines and 3 gravity-fed water supply systems.
• UNICEF supplied technical and financial assistance to Provincial Health offices with communication and Water, Environment and Sanitation activities during the cholera outbreak.
• Access for pregnant women who are HIV positive to Prevention of Parents to Child Transmission (PPTCT) services has increased from 2.3 percent in 2007 to 6.5 percent in 2009.
UNICEF is working with partners to increase child survival by strengthening basic health services to deliver the child survival package. This includes increasing immunization coverage from 60% to 80%, reducing micronutrient deficiency in children under five years of age, increasing supervised deliveries from 38% to 60% and strengthening national and sub-national service delivery for improved access to safe water and sanitation, medical supplies and trained health workers. UNICEF is dedicated to assisting the Government in its efforts to achieve MDG 4 (Reduce Child Mortality) and MDG 5 (Improve Maternal Health) on a national level.
UNICEF aims to strengthen the national capacity to achieve MDG Goal 2, Universal Primary Education, and MDG 3, promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, specifically addressing gender equality in primary education. The programme also aims to support the Government to prepare young children for learning through promoting Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD).
UNICEF is committed to improving the protection of all children, especially those most vulnerable from abuse, violence and commercial sexual exploitation. The programme promotes the use of the Child Protection Act (Lukautim Pikinini Act 2009) as the key mechanism for the development, implementation and monitoring of child protection efforts. UNICEF is also focused on helping to improve the collection of data on child protection indicators, helping the Government to implement plans to address exploitation and strengthen the juvenile justice system.
The UNICEF supported HIV programme is part of the national HIV response and focuses on four main areas – prevention of HIV transmission from parent to child, provision of quality paediatric AIDS services, HIV prevention among adolescents and youths, and provision of protection, care and treatment for children infected with HIV and affected by AIDS. UNICEF continues to assist the Government in addressing MDG 6, Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and MD4 to reduce child mortality.