The program’s development was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership with collaboration from the Word Health Organisation.
During this time of a global health crisis when many people feel uncertain and isolated, Church leaders have teamed up with medical experts to provide pastoral support and accurate public health information.
The program covers protective health and hygiene practices – vital in slowing the spread of the coronavirus – and seeks to answer frequently asked questions and counter the spread of rumour, myths and misinformation.
PNG Council of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Roger Joseph, said the churches must care for all Papua New Guineans by providing spiritual strength and supporting the PNG Government’s work to halt the spread of the virus.
“Faith and information are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to combat this virus and the epidemic of fear through false information that can incite stigmatisation, panic and unrest, which we as Christians must unite to overcome,” he said.
“We trust that through the PNG Hour of Hope we can reach out to everyone, especially the most vulnerable, including women and people living with disabilities.”
The program answers common questions coming from the community to the national hotline and provides reassurances that there will be light at the end of this dark period.
Australian High Commission Minister-Counsellor, Andrew Egan, said Churches were among the most trusted source of information to reinforce government messaging.
“We applaud the work of Churches in delivering vital front-line health and education services to the nation at this challenging time. The PNG Hour of Hope will augment the broad reach, of churches support of national efforts to combat Covid-19,” said Mr Egan.
(Hour of Hope: [Centre] Catholic Archbishop Cardinal John Ribat and the National Broadcasting Commission’s Michael Samuga officially launch the PNG Hour of Hope Program, witnessed by United Church PNG Moderator Reverend Bernard Siai, World Health Organisation Dr James Wangi, PNG Council of Churches Secretary Reverend Roger Joseph, church partners and NBC staff)