From (L-R): Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor, Diane Barclay, Chairperson KP Consortium, Cathy Ketepa, UNAIDS Strategic Information Advisor Peter Mosende and National Department of Health’s National HIV Program Manager, Dr Peniel Boas officially launch the new investment.
Australia is partnering with UNAIDS and the PNG National Department of Health to deliver a PGK3.8 million investment to prevent HIV transmission and support people living with HIV in Papua New Guinea.
The goal of this investment is to reverse the annual increase of HIV among key populations through a focus on three key areas: improved policy, legal and regulatory environments, strengthening the role of community-led organisations, and provision of accessible HIV prevention, testing and treatment services.
The new investment was officially launched in Port Moresby on Friday 01 October by representatives from UNAIDS and of the governments of PNG and Australia. The grant will be delivered by UNAIDS PNG and the PNG National HIV Program.
This program forms part of Australia’s support to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Australia is contributing AUD242million (PGK619million) to the fund in 2021-2023, to support global efforts to defeat HIV, TB, malaria and COVID-19.
Australia is committed to working with development partners to deliver essential health services, including for HIV, to protect the health of citizens in the region. This new funding is in addition to our support for HIV testing and treatment through Catholic Church Health Services, including providing antiretroviral therapy for nearly 4000 people in 11 provinces.
Minister Counsellor, Diane Barclay of the Australian High Commission said, “Australia is committed to assisting people at risk of or living with HIV/AIDS. We are pleased to partner with UNAIDS and the National Department of Health to increase the availability and uptake of HIV prevention, testing and treatment services. By working closely with community-led organisations, we can ensure that services provided are targeted, appropriate and accessible to populations at risk of, or living with HIV.”
Representatives from the PNG and Australian Governments, UNAIDS, and the KP Consortium.
“UNAIDS welcomes this added investment from Australia for the region and especially here in Papua New Guinea. It comes at a critical time as we face the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19. Now more than ever we need to ensure that community- based and community-led services are firmly in place and supported if we are to end AIDS and respond to emerging pandemics going forward. UNAIDS in partnership with the Government, the community representing key populations and our development partners will work to ensure these resources strengthen community responses and in turn accelerate our response to HIV here in Papua New Guinea.” David Bridger, UNAIDS PNG Country Director
In support of the initiatives launch Dr Penial Boas, PNG National HIV Program Manager remarked, “We can end AIDS here in Papua New Guinea, but we will need to regain our momentum to achieve this, and we will need a broad and inclusive partnership to go further.” Dr Boas concluded by saying, “The support outlined today by our colleagues and partners is all about rebuilding that momentum.”
“The DFAT funding has come in a timely manner that will increase investment in our public health but with a focus on our vulnerable communities who are most at risk in Papua New Guinea. This funding will support a new way of working with Key Population by investing on a tool called Community Led Monitoring (CLM).” Cathy Ketepa, Chairperson, KP Consortium