Since February, PNG has seen a sharp escalation of COVID-19 cases and reported deaths due to widespread community transmission.
This rapid increase in COVID-19 cases has put significant pressure on an already-stretched health system.
World Bank Country Manager, Stefano Mocci said it is time to build a stronger and more resilient health system for all Papua New Guineans, particularly the most vulnerable.
“Pandemic preparedness is about people's access to the most basic of health care systems and their ability to access the information, the prevention and the services they need.
“We look forward to further supporting PNG’s health authorities to build the capacity of front-line health workers, and to strengthen public health systems to put the local health system on a better platform to combat COVID-19, and potential future pandemics.”
This additional funding to be delivered through the Papua New Guinea COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, will also support the scale-up of deployment of COVID-19 vaccines to prioritized communities, prepare communities for vaccine delivery, support improvements to the accountability and oversight of resources for the rollout, as well as the training of vaccine delivery workers.
Further support will also go towards the delivery of COVID-19 infection prevention and control messages, testing, waste management and clinical management of patients with mild symptoms.
The PNG COVID-19 Emergency Response Project is funded through the World Bank Group’s $125 billion global COVID-19 response package.
An initial package of support to PNG was announced in 2020, which included the purchase and distribution of over 200,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment throughout the country, funding for a new container-based laboratory in the capital, Port Moresby, together with other lab equipment, medical supplies and funding to transport COVID-19 samples to laboratories within PNG and to Australia.
In addition, the project has also funded an extensive nation-wide public education and community engagement campaign, delivered through UNICEF across television, radio, social media and SMS aimed at reducing the spread of Coronavirus across the country.
The World Bank’s commitment to the COVID-19 response effort in the health sector in PNG is part of a wider package of World Bank support to tackle a number of PNG’s most pressing health challenges.
The US$30 million Impact Health Project, when implemented, will address the quality and efficiency of health services being delivered in community health posts, health centers and district hospitals across the country, with a focus on improving the quality of frontline health services.