International Finance

Australia gives additional funding to help improve health services in PNG

The additional funding will help expand the project’s scope by upgrading seven existing health facilities and enhancing the health information system

The Government of Australia is providing a $17.65 million grant as additional financing to help fund an ongoing health project, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is currently delivering high-quality primary healthcare to Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) rural population.

The additional assistance was announced during an event held in Port Moresby commemorating the long-standing partnership of ADB and PNG, attended by ADB Papua New Guinea Country Director David Hill, government officials, private sector representatives, members of the media, and other development partners.

“The project is being rolled out in eight provinces and women and children are the main beneficiaries,” said Mr. Hill.

The additional funding will help expand the project’s scope by upgrading seven existing health facilities (including staff training) and enhancing the health information system through the development of an electronic National Health Information System, which has been piloted across five provinces—Western Highlands, Milne Bay, Bougainville, West New Britain, and Enga.

The entire project, which is also supported by the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea as well as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, will help develop national health policies, facilitate sustainable partnerships between provincial governments and non-state actors, enhance people’s skills, upgrade health facilities, and promote healthcare in local communities.

The ADB 2017 Year in Review event highlights the achievements of ADB-financed operations in PNG that focus on transport infrastructure, maritime safety, civil aviation, climate resilience, health services, and access to finance. These projects include the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program to improve 21 national airports and provide safer and more secure air transport services.

Another major focus is the over $1 billion Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Program, which ADB supported through a $680 million loan. The investment program responds to the government’s national development and transport strategies, which aimed to rehabilitate, upgrade, and sustainably maintain 430 kilometers of the Highlands Highway. It will also improve road safety, support the establishment of logistics platforms and services for agricultural production, as well as introduce transport sector reforms.

In PNG, the Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) has supported a range of reforms, including the passage of the Personal Property Security Act and the Personal Property Securities Register, a community service obligation policy, and the Consumer and Competition Framework Review.

PSDI is working with ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business, and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. It is cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the Government of New Zealand, and ADB.

ADB has worked with PNG since 1971 and is the country’s largest multilateral development partner. To respond to PNG’s development needs, ADB will increase its total financing for development projects from $743.7 million (2016-2018) to approximately $1.24 billion (2018-2020). Proposed transport projects will help drive inclusive economic growth, improve the delivery of basic services, increase regional connectivity, and build resilience to climate change. ADB also intends to intensify its partnerships with subnational provincial governments—which have emerged as important stakeholders—to implement infrastructure projects.

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