Papua New Guinea is the largest nation in the Pacific and has a total population of 6.7 million (2007) with approximately 87% of the population living in rural areas. Its geography is dominated by extensive mountain ranges, large area of rainforests, coral atolls and river systems, making many rural areas inaccessible by road. The inaccessibility and low socio economic status of the majority of people make it difficult to deliver or access healthcare, especially in rural areas. In urban areas, there are pockets of deprivation with some people not being able to afford healthcare or find employment. These challenges coupled with leading communicable health problems such as malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory diseases; continue to increase the morbidity and mortality rates in the country. Infant mortality rate is 75 per 1 000 live births (2006), and maternal mortality rate is at an astounding 733 per 100,000 live births (2006); a figure regarded by some as an underestimate (WHO, 2010).

The National Department for Health stated its health goals for 2009 -2012 as:

  • Full immunization of all children under the age of one year;
  • Reduction of maternal mortality;
  • Reduction of HIV/Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis prevalence;
  • Improving access to service for the poor

In 2010 the government launched its new National Health Plan 2011-2020 focusing on “back to basics”. Its vision is to make health provision affordable, accessible, equitable, and provide a quality health services for its citizens. Its aim is to improve and transform service delivery for the rural majority and the urban disadvantaged population through innovative approaches in the areas of:

  • child survival
  • maternal health
  • communicable disease
  • healthy lifestyles
  • disease outbreaks.  .

Wantok Support seeks to work in collaboration with government organisations (including health and education), charities, church run organisations, and trade industries to meet some of the goals set out in the National Health Plan 2009-2012, and 20011-2020.

At present the Trustees and members of Wantok Support are researching and liaising with individuals and organisations in Papua New Guinea to identify small viable health projects which the charity can help support.  Contact us for more details.