Representatives of the Australian, Chinese and Papua New Guinean Governments recently met in Port Moresby to discuss continuing cooperation in malaria and health security. The meeting noted the success of an existing Australia-China-PNG Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control Project in Papua New Guinea and considered how trilateral cooperation could further strengthen health security in PNG.
Participants included representatives from the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, PNG National Department of Health, PNG Department of National Planning and Monitoring, PNG Institute of Medical Research, PNG Central Public Health Laboratory, PNG School of Medicine and Health Sciences, China National Health Commission, China Ministry of Commerce, China National Institute of Parasitic Diseases and the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.
Australian High Commission Counsellor Will Robinson attended the meeting on behalf of Australia and said he was pleased with achievements in malaria testing and diagnosis since the project began three years ago.
“The journey we began in 2016 has yielded results. The mid-term review conducted in 2018 demonstrated that the project has successfully contributed to improved malaria diagnosis for Papua New Guineans, including training more than 300 health workers, clinicians, researchers and scientists,” said Mr Robinson.
Deputy Secretary Policy, PNG Department of Foreign Affairs Joseph Varo, also acknowledged the malaria project’s success, especially the model of trilateral development cooperation.
“PNG is optimistic that such trilateral projects can strengthen our efforts in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals. This pilot project is focusing on an important sector, a sector that faces many challenges, and is considered an excellent trilateral arrangement,” said Mr Varo.
Looking forward, Mr Nie Jiangang, the Deputy Director General of the Department of International Cooperation, People’s Republic of China National Health Commission, said the trilateral arrangement should continue to leverage each country’s expertise for the benefit of PNG.
“Continued trilateral cooperation must focus on the needs of the PNG health system and the comparative advantage of each of the three partner countries. We must be innovative and build on the skills and experience of all of the partners and learn from each other – in some areas we will be teachers, in some areas we will be students,” said Mr Nie Jiangang.
The Australia-China-Papua New Guinea Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control Project was introduced in January 2016 in support of PNG’s National Malaria Strategic Plan to improve the quality of malaria diagnosis, and to pilot effective cooperation between the three countries. Going forward, representatives from the three countries indicated interest in pursuing a long-term partnership to help address malaria and health security challenges in PNG.