The U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Catherine Ebert-Gray has presented various laboratory and clinical equipment worth over Two Hundred and Seventy Thousand Kinas (270,000.00PGK) for distribution to a number of clinics located in Daru (Western Province) and Port Moresby (NCD).
In a formal ceremony held on October 12 at the Lawes Road Clinic in Port Moresby, Ambassador Ebert-Gray turned over essential supplies that are needed to fight the spread of both Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea. The equipment will enable doctors to provide quality care to their patients. It is expected that the deployment and efficient use of this equipment will enhance the ability to monitor for tuberculosis and HIV and proper physical examinations for all categories of patients.
The donation was part of the U.S. Government Assistance provided by the United States Agency for International Development, through the Challenge TB Project, implemented by FHI360. This donation complements the work the U.S. government supports through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program in which the United States has spent more than $65 billion around the world over the past 13 years to combat HIV/AIDS. In Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Government spends approximately 21 million Kina annually to fight the spread of HIV, in partnership with the PNG Department of Health.
At the ceremony, the Ambassador was joined on stage by Dr. Paison Dakulala, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health and Executive Managers, Dr. Lutty Amos, Acting Provincial Health Advisor of the National Capital District Health Services, and Dr. Pieter Van Maaren, Country Representative for the World Health Organization. During her presentation, she commended the Department of Health for their leadership through national-level policy support, technical guidance, and the provision of critically needed HIV drugs and other necessary supplies to both treat and prevent the spread of HIV.
Papua New Guinea has the second highest tuberculosis prevalence in the Western Pacific Region, with an estimated TB incidence of 348 per 100,000 and prevalence of 541 per 100,000. The country also has the highest incidence and HIV prevalence in the Pacific, predominantly driven by heterosexual transmission and associated with untreated sexually transmitted infections.
TB and HIV present major challenges to the fragile health system in PNG, and the wellbeing of Papua New Guineans. To mitigate the impact of these challenges, the United States Government is working in collaboration with other donors (including the Australian Department for Foreign Aid and Trade (DFAT) and the Global Fund) and the UN agencies. The objective of this partnership is to help the government of PNG to achieve the ‘End TB’ targets as well as the ‘90:90:90’ HIV treatment targets. The donated equipment will help achieve both targets in Papua New Guinea.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with its implementing partner FHI360, is providing support to health institutions to improve and strengthen their capacity to offer quality diagnostic and treatment services to individuals with TB and people living with HIV (PLHIV).
“Putting Papua New Guinean leadership – both government and civil society – into an empowered and accountable position to meet the needs of their populations is the most effective means of achieving a sustainable HIV program,” said Ambassador Ebert-Gray. “Together, with our unwavering and long-term commitment to your efforts, we will turn the tide on HIV/AIDS.”