Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis visited several project sites in West New Britain including a new health facility and a cocoa rehabilitation project supported by the Australian Government during his visit to the province from 13-18 September.
The High Commissioner was joined by Governor Sasindran Muthuvel and Talasea MP Francis Maneke. Talasea is one of six priority districts under Australia’s decentralisation partnership with Papua New Guinea and the delegation received a briefing on a new cocoa rehabilitation project under a jointly developed Kina Bungim Komuniti program.
While in Talasea, the group also visited Mama’s Foundation Meri Seif Haus, Caritas Girls Secondary School, Kimbe General Hospital, Mahonia na Dari marine conservation centre and remote health clinics at Valoka and Malalia. The High Commissioner visited New Britain Palm Oil Limited and Hargy Oil Palm and inspected processing facilities and a biofuel renewable energy project.
On 13 September, Mr Davis joined an PNG Independence Day reception in Kimbe attended by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
On 15 September, he visited the new Baia Community Health Post (CHP). This facility will serve more than 4,000 people living in the vicinity of Baia village. The CHP will include specialist remote area medical facilities, a delivery and post-natal room, toilets and washing facilities and new staff housing.
Thirty two CHPs are being constructed across Papua New Guinea under the US$81.2 million Rural Primary Health Service Delivery Project (RPHSDP). This initiative supports the Government of Papua New Guinea’s long-term vision to transform the health system, especially to improve the health of rural populations. Four CHPs are being delivered in West New Britain, at Baia, Vatukele, Wako and Akonga.
The RPHSDP is supported by Australia as a major contributor, as well as the Asian Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency and World Health Organisation.
The High Commissioner then travelled to East New Britain on 16 September where he was joined by Minister for Police and Gazelle MP Jelta Wong and Governor Nakikus Konga. Mr Davis celebrated Independence Day in rural East New Britain with local communities at Pondo and Vunapalading in the Gazelle district.
The High Commissioner congratulated all Papua New Guineans on the 43rd anniversary of Independence and highlighted the strength of Australia’s enduring strategic and economic partnership with Papua New Guinea, particularly in rural and remote parts of the country.
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West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel, Talasea MP Francis Maneke and Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis with staff members of Malalia health clinic.
Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis (second right) and Police Minister and Gazelle MP Jelta Wong with other delegates, joined locals in the Gazelle District, East New Britain to celebrate Independence.