EU supports PNG's COVID-19 fight

17 April 2020
Bougainvillean child washing hands
Christopher Cherry

Port Moresby, 14 April 2020 – The European Union is supporting Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) ongoing efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, a global emergency that has affected nearly all countries in the world.

This additional EU contribution, to be implemented by UNICEF, will complement ongoing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in 300 vulnerable communities in four districts of Goroka in Eastern Highlands, Hagen Central in Western Highlands, Nawaeb in Morobe and Central Bougainville in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville under the EUUNICEF- PNG Government WASH project.

“The European Union is taking the threat posed bythe ongoing COVID-19 emergency very seriously and is keen to support partners around the world. As good hygiene is crucial to stop the spread of COVID-19, the EU has decided to strengthen its support in the WaSH sector by providing access to clean water to communities, distributing hygiene kits and carrying out an awareness campaign” declared Ambassador Jernej Videtic, the EU Head of Delegation to Papua New Guinea.

Building on a long tradition of partnership between the EU and the Government of PNG, this additional contingency of 2.2 million PGK will ensure that communities receive life-saving information on hygiene and how to protect themselves from the pandemic. It will also help provide clean water to 2,045 households and hygiene kits to 1,410 households in these vulnerable communities.

“The pandemic has already exacted a heavy toll on health systems and economies of nearly every country and has made life very difficult for most households and communities, “he added.

PNG is presently under a nationwide emergency to counter the spread of the pandemic following the
confirmation of one COVID-19 case on 20 March 2020.

“This support is timely – children, women and men across Papua New Guinea need to be empowered to protect themselves, their families, and communities from the going COVID-19 pandemic that has severely devastated nearly all countries of the world,” said David Mcloughlin, UNICEF PNG Country Representative.

“Fortunately, Papua New Guinea has so far reported only two cases. This gives us a window of opportunity to come up with good preparation measures to contain the COVID-19 threat,” added Mcloughlin.

“The European Union has been a reliable development partner to the people of Papua New Guinea over the years. This support is coming at the right time and it is appreciated along with that from other development partners,” said Takale Tuna, WASH Programme Management Unit Coordinator at the Department of Planning and Monitoring.

“It will strengthen the government’s efforts in containing the COVID-19 threat,” Mr Tuna added.

At its completion next year, the EU-UNICEF-PNG Government WASH project, which started in 2018, will have enabled 160,000 people, including 40,000 children, to access WASH services through improved WASH facilities in 200 schools and 36 health centres as well as improved sanitation in 800 neighbouring communities across the four project districts.

The EU is one of the largest humanitarian donors of WASH assistance world-wide and has been supporting access to clean water and sanitation in PNG through successive Rural Water Supply and Sanitation projects since the 1990’s. These projects have resulted in access to safe water for over 200,000 people especially in remote areas.
 

Media Contacts

Noreen Chambers
Communication Specialist
UNICEF
Tel: +675 321 3000

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Papua New Guinea, visit https://www.unicef.org/png/ 

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