Papua New Guinea

Flag of Papua New Guinea

The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security is working with the Government of Papua New Guinea and partner organisations to strengthen capacities to prepare and respond to health security threats, including COVID-19.

Australia is assisting PNG to achieve a more effective health system, with targeted improvements in communicable disease control. Australia’s focus is on key areas of the health system, including workforce, infrastructure and financing.

The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security conducted a Scoping Mission to PNG in 2018, which provided recommendations to inform priorities and propose areas for investment. In March 2019, DFAT opened a call for proposals for activities through the Pacific Infectious Disease Prevention (PIDP) and ASEAN-Pacific Infectious Disease Detection and Response (APIDDaR) programs. In 2020, partners commence activities to prepare and respond to major health security threats, including COVID-19.

To prepare and respond to COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea, Australia provided supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and support to strengthen laboratory testing and arrangements for isolation and quarantine.

The following regional programs have been developed to build health security capacity in PNG:

  • A One Health approach to establish surveillance strategies for Japanese encephalitis and zoonotic arboviruses in Papua New Guinea (ZAPPA), a joint DFAT-ACIAR One Health research project led by CSIRO.
  • A program to improve data collection and use, Strengthen Preparedness in Asia-Pacific Region through Knowledge (SPARK), delivered by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
  • Pac Mossi, a program to build capacity for evidence-based sustainable vector surveillance and control in the Pacific, implemented by James Cook University.
  • Drug sensitive and resistant tuberculosis and zoonotic infections as causes of lymphadenitis in two provinces in PNG, a joint DFAT-ACIAR One Health research project led by the Burnet Institute
  • Funding to improve HIV drug resistance surveillance at Mt Hagen and Port Moresby through ACTUP-PNG: Accelerating the Uptake of Initiatives to address HIV drug resistance in PNG, implemented by the Kirby Institute.
  • Health systems research in the Tropical Partnerships to Enhance Surveillance and Response to Infectious Diseases project, to study patterns of infectious disease spread and strengthen health systems responses to communicable disease. This research is led by James Cook University.
  • Health systems research through STRATUM, a project to review the development and implementation of a package of cost-effective interventions for multi-drug resistant malaria and new approaches to tuberculosis case detection and prevention.
  • Mitigating the threat of Antimicrobial Resistance in Pacific Island Countries, implemented by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
  • Strengthening clinical care capacity for the safe use of oxygen in provincial and district hospitals, through training and technical assistance implemented by Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Through a partnership with PNG's paediatric society, the project will also provide support to the World Bank.
  • Stronger Surveillance and Systems Support for Rapid Identification and Containment of Resurgent or Resistant Vector Borne Pathogens (STRIVE) in Papua New Guinea, a research project led by the Burnet Institute. Burnet Institute has also been funded to support laboratory capacity for COVID-19 by establishing lab-based multiplex serological testing. 
  • Support for collective action to eliminate malaria across Asia and the Pacific through the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), and funding for the APLMA/APMEN Secretariat to deliver advocacy and provide policy guidance.
  • Support for PNG’s national medicines regulatory authority through the Indo-Pacific Regulatory Strengthening Program to improve the impact and safety of medical products, in partnership with Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.
  • Support to expand immunisation in the Pacific and PNG through the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance, led by the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS).
  • Field Epidemiology in Action, which will provide support to improve public health outbreak investigation and surveillance training in three countries, led by the University of Newcastle.
  • Support to PNG Institute of Medical Research, including deployment of a long-term adviser to improve governance and operations, and funding to match contributions from the Buttressing Coalition.
  • The PRIME-TB (PNG and the Republic of Indonesia for the Micro-Elimination of TB) program, which will establish micro-elimination and outbreak response sites in the Papua province of Indonesia and across the border in Papua New Guinea, led by Burnet Institute.
  • Training in surveillance and outbreak investigation for veterinarians and the para-veterinary workforce, delivered by the University of Sydney and Charles Sturt University.
  • Tropical Disease Research Regional Collaborative Initiative (TDRRCI), a research program to address threats from drug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria led by the Burnet Institute partnering with PNG’s National Department of Health.
  • Upskilling frontline healthcare practitioners and development of the Advanced Field Epidemiology Training Program, through the Accelerating the Development of Evidence-based Policy and Practice (ADEPPt), program, led by the University of Newcastle with partners including the National Department of Health and University of Papua New Guinea.
  • Volunteer assignments with partner organisations in Papua New Guinea through the Health Security Corps, including the WHO and PNG Institute of Medical Research.