Former Miss Pacific Islands supports PNG’s fight against COVID-19

Former Miss Papua New Guinea and Miss Pacific Islands (2018-2019), 20-year-old Leoshina Kariha, may have given away her crown last year but her heart and passion for helping people remains.

Emmanuella Memafu
Behind the scenes – UNICEF Youth Advocate, Leoshina Kariha recording a video at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby to promote COVID-19 awareness
UNICEF/UNI371625/Chambers
18 September 2020

18 September 2020, Port Moresby – Former Miss Papua New Guinea and Miss Pacific Islands (2018-2019), 20-year-old Leoshina Kariha, may have given away her crown last year but her heart and passion for helping people remains.

Miss Kariha, who reigned as Queen of the Pacific from 2018-2019, was appointed as UNICEF PNG’s Youth Advocate during her reign and still holds that title today.

The former Pacific Queen recently participated in radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) in both English and Tok Pisin in support of PNG’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has struck the world, affecting so far more than 28 million people in more than 227 countries and territories.

“It was quite meaningful to be a part of the production for these vital messages for public awareness on COVID-19,” said Miss Kariha.

“We all need to do what we can to protect ourselves, our families and our friends, from the fast and wide spreading virus. This includes listening and taking careful notice of health protocols and advises from health front liners.”

Shooting the video at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
UNICEF/UNI371628/Chambers
Shooting the video at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Miss Kariha stressed that COVID-19 did not discriminate and could affect anyone, young or old, if they were not careful.

“As a nation and team, we have to take a serious stand together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” she said.

Alongside Miss Kariha was Captain of the 2020 SP PNG Hunters rugby league team, Ase Boas, who also appeared in the COVID-19 radio and television spot announcements.

“I am grateful for this opportunity as it allows me to reiterate these important key COVID-19 messages to help stop the spread of the virus in the country,” said Mr Boas.

Leoshina (right, seated) and Kieran (middle, seated) take a break from shooting the video.
UNICEF/UNI371627/Chambers
Leoshina (right, seated) and Kieran (middle, seated) take a break from shooting the video.

Heagi Lovai, Pediatric Registrar at the Port Moresby General Hospital, who was also one of the voices and faces behind the PSAs, stated that it was a privilege to have been a part of the campaign as it was an experience outside of her normal routine.

“As a frontline worker, I want the message to be clear and concise and to ensure that parents and caregivers understand and ensure children are safe and healthy. The health message for COVID-19 is a basic hygiene message that provides prevention against diseases and encourages proper diet as well as bringing greater awareness to the importance of one’s health and clean habits,” said Dr Lovai.

“It’s high time for our people and communities to embrace the basic hygiene habits and preventative measures to help in controlling the spread of the virus in the country.”

Kieran Raka, 14 being filmed while Ase Boas, Captain of the 2020 PNG Hunters rugby league team, looks on in the background
UNICEF/UNI371626/Chambers
Kieran Raka, 14 being filmed while Ase Boas, Captain of the 2020 PNG Hunters rugby league team, looks on in the background.

Miss Kariha, Boas and Dr Lovai were joined by Kelly Kilavanwa, 7; Brienna Numi, 15; and Kieran Raka, 14, who is also a special needs child.

The production of the COVID-19 radio and TV spot announcements, supported through funding provided by USAID and UKAid, were recorded and produced under Vatava Media through Next Of Kin Productions, with technical support from the National Department of Health and UNICEF.

“All of us who took part in this awareness campaign production come from different walks of life and we are all grateful to the donors and partners for this opportunity to use our voices for good,” said Miss Kariha.

To date, PNG has recorded a total of 510 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6 deaths.