Tuesday, April 23, 2024

$30m sexual health support package for PNG

New support for access to contraceptives, family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services in the Pacific has been announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs during a visit to Papua New Guinea.

“Aotearoa New Zealand already works closely with partners offering sexual and reproductive health services throughout the region, including here in Papua New Guinea, but we recognise much more needs to be done,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“We are investing a further NZ$30 million over five years for government and non-government agencies working across the Pacific to improve care and access to health services in this area.

“There are substantial challenges for some communities, like women and young people, those in remote locations or vulnerable minorities, to access services and information to help make their own decisions about sexual and reproductive choices and healthcare.”

Minister Mahuta said the funding would help address high adolescent pregnancy rates, high levels of maternal mortality, and sexual and gender-based violence, amongst other health and wellbeing needs.

“It will have a focus on family planning, strengthening health systems within countries, and grassroots advocacy and training efforts. The investment recognises the need for safe, locally driven approaches to healthcare, and it supports partners’ ambitions and strategies,” she said.

“While the primary emphasis will be on sexual and reproductive health, it is also intended that this commitment supports women and girls to grow their leadership potential, and reinforces the importance of taking care of their wider health and well-being.”

The investment will be directed to public and private sector partners like Pacific Ministries of Health, the United Nations Population Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, the International Women’s Development Agency and Marie Stopes International.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has compromised delivery of some sexual and reproductive health and rights services in Pacific countries, as resources are diverted elsewhere, and lockdowns and supply chain disruptions have impeded access to care.”

“Not only is this area of health a priority for our own country, but also our responsibility as a Pacific nation, standing shoulder to shoulder: tatou, tatou — all of us together. This work will help us all in our efforts towards achieving social and economic resilience in the Pacific,” Ms Mahuta said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister made the announcement at the Marie Stopes International (MSI) clinic in Port Moresby. She met teams from both MSI Papua New Guinea and the PNG Family Health Association, two key partners who will receive support under the new investment.

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