Under the leadership of PNG’s Joint Agency Taskforce, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Australia are teaming up to help Papua New Guinea to prepare for and respond to COVID-19.
The support package covers three critical areas; establishing screening sites throughout PNG, educating communities on risks and preventative measures, and essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
UNICEF is setting up over 30 tents across PNG that health workers will use to conduct pre-triage screening procedures for patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms.
At the screening sites, health workers will ask patients about their travel history and symptoms, including dry cough, fever, chest pain, and if they had come in contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19. Effective triage systems are essential to any health system globally to reduce the risk of exposing others in the community to an outbreak.
Prior to the establishment of the screening sites, awareness raising will be conducted in communities to help inform locals of the importance of these facilities and the role they place in the response to COVID-19.
A media campaign will also be implemented, to promote key messages focused on reducing risk and managing public anxiety.
In addition, 500 sets of PPE including 20,000 gloves, 10,000 caps, 5,000 surgical masks and 1,500 gowns have been handed over to NDoH for distribution to 22 provinces. The PPE will be used by health workers to protect them against COVID-19 infection.
Australian High Commissioner, Jon Philp reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to strengthening PNG’s health security as a dedicated partner.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with global and local partners to provide practical assistance to PNG in response to the global pandemic,” Mr Philp said.
Citizens are encouraged to continue adhering to public health messages on COVID-19 and maintain good hygiene habits, including frequent washing of hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub and maintaining social distancing to prevent infection from coughs and sneezes.