Health & Nutrition
When it comes to health and nutrition, Papua New Guinea remains one of the poorest performing countries in the East Asia Pacific region. This is why UNICEF is supporting Government efforts to focus on newborn care, immunization and nutrition.
Neonatal mortality contributes significantly to the under-five mortality rate in Papua New Guinea. Improving newborn care interventions in the country is a key way to reduce under-five mortality and help keep children healthy. UNICEF is supporting the National Department of Health to roll-out a high impact an early essential newborn care package in the country. This includes UNICEF support for a five-year action plan plus the completition of a newborn care national policy. UNICEF is also supporting the Government to carry out training, coaching and mentoring of health workers.
UNICEF is also supporting trainers providing on-site training for health workers from delivery rooms. After being piloted in 2014 the initiative is now expanding with the aim of covering the entire country.
In the area of nutrition, UNICEF and other partners have stepped up efforts to improve the nutritional health and well-being of children and mothers. This includes by providing nutrient supplements (e.g. Vitamin A aimed at children, iron-folic acid to pregnant women and therapeutic zinc supplements for diarrhoea) and de-worming treatments to eradicate hunger.
UNICEF is also helping the Government introduce a comprehensive treatment of severe acute malnutrition to reduce child case fatalities, which included training of health professionals. At the same time, a donation of therapeutic foods to help nourish the most in need have been delivered to 15 hospitals countrywide.
In addition, UNICEF is working with the Government at national and sub-national level to strengthen capacities to tackle nutrition problems, and to help protect children during the critical first 1000 days of life.
In the area of immunization, UNICEF has directed efforts to improve capacities of health workers in managing the routine immunization. Several provinces have been supported in updating health workers knowledge on routine immunization, cold chain and vaccines management through series of refreshing training.
UNICEF is helping the Government procure routine vaccines, with support from GAVI, while also guiding the Government in the procurement of the cold chain equipment.
UNICEF has also provided technical and financial support to the Government to achieve the maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (MNTE). Despite huge challenges such as the poor geographical access and limited financial and human resources, the entire country has successfully completed the first round of TT vaccination for women of reproductive age (14-45 years) with more than 80% coverage nationwide. This approach will be strengthened during the up-coming years to ensure a total achievement of MNTE.
UNICEF is also pairing up with WHO to take a full advantage from the GAVI support and complete the introduction of several new vaccines in the country. The pneumococcal vaccine has been introduced and is being rolled-out progressively. Two additional new vaccines (measles-rubella and IPV) are also being introduced.
UNICEF also undertakes regularly monitoring and evaluation of the immunization programme to ensure every child is reached.
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission
HIV/AIDS and Stigma