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Media Releases, 02 December 2013

PNG LNG launches US$3.1 million initiative to improve paediatric medicine in Papua New Guinea

  • Program will strengthen education and training in maternal and paediatric health care
  • Intended to reduce infant mortality rates beyond progress already made
  • PNG LNG Project partnering with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine

The PNG LNG Project, operated by Esso Highlands Limited, today announced a US$3.1 million (PGK 6.9 million), two-year program to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality rates in Papua New Guinea. The initiative, which began earlier this month, is led by Houston-based Texas Children’s Hospital and its partner, Baylor College of Medicine.

“We value the opportunity to support remarkable doctors with world-class expertise in public, pediatric and maternal health care. The training they will provide to health care providers in-country will help build a foundation for improved health care in PNG and reduced mortality rates among infants and young children,” said Peter Graham, Esso Highlands Limited Managing Director.

Program funding supports the deployment of health specialists to the University of Papua New Guinea School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Doctors will provide teaching support to strengthen the education and training of both current and future health care professionals.

Michael Mizwa, chief operating officer and senior vice president of Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital, said the program will build the capacity of the University of Papua New Guinea School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ education and training in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and public health.

“Our hope is that this program will measurably improve the methods and delivery of maternal and children’s health services in Papua New Guinea,” Mr Mizwa said.

“This is a unique opportunity for a public private partnership, between Texas Children’s Hospital, the National Department of Health and the University that complements the Government’s National Health Plan,” said Minister for Health, the Hon. Michael Malabag.

“Our local health institutes will benefit significantly from this capacity building program from Texas Children’s Hospital, thanks to the PNG LNG Project,” he said.

While progress has been made over the past decade to improve child health care in Papua New Guinea, infant mortality rates remain high compared with those of other countries in the region.