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US Commits K7 Million to Combat COVID-19 in PNG

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby has announced yesterday, a U.S. government commitment, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for an additional PGK 7.1 million (USD $2 million) to support Papua New Guinea’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working in partnership with UNICEF, World Health Organization, and FHI 360, USAID will support vaccine deployment, as well as emergency response efforts, raising total U.S. government assistance to nearly PGK 25 million (USD $6.9 million).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that an infectious disease outbreak anywhere is a threat to people everywhere,” said U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu Erin McKee.

“This contribution, together with the delivery on April 13 of 132,000 COVAX vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility through the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) will advance our protection of Papua New Guineans and begin to put an end to COVID-19 in PNG.”

Through this additional funding, USAID will support the PNG government in risk communications and community engagement, training for front-line medical personnel, and service delivery activities to support vaccine deployment.

Working with the government partners, USAID will help distribute essential public health information to enhance confidence around the COVID-19 World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccines and increase acceptance amongst Papua New Guineans.

USAID will also provide technical assistance to PNG’s National Department of Health to develop guidelines for provincial level vaccine distribution.

Additionally, USAID will support COVID-19 surge response activities to address the increasing cases in the country and to support prevention activities, including vaccine readiness planning and coordination between the PNG government and development partners.

Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $68 million in PNG’s health sector alone, and nearly $128 million total. This latest funding commitment from the U.S. government to PNG’s COVID-19 response and vaccination activities augments the United States’ $4 billion commitment to Gavi to support 92 countries including PNG, and more than $900 million in emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance provided since the start of the pandemic.

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