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$4.2 Million From NZ Govt For STC PNG Project

$4.2 Million From NZ Government For Save The Children’s Rural Health Project In PNG

Save the Children New Zealand announced today that the New Zealand Government has committed to $4.2 million over the next three years to lift the health status of children and women in the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea.

Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Marian Hobbs disclosed the sum for the first time last night at the opening session of Save the Children New Zealand’s 56th Annual General Meeting in Wellington. The injection of funds will support Save the Children’s East Sepik Women and Children’s Health Project, which trains local Village Health Volunteers in rural villages to attend births, administer basic health care and advise on family planning.

“NZAID has supported Save the Children New Zealand since 1999, through an annual grant of between $200,000-$350,000 to address the problems of inadequate health services in rural areas of East Sepik Province,” said Ms Hobbs. “The infant and under-5 mortality rates have improved significantly in recent years but are still high at 94 per 1000 and 70 per 1000 respectively. To give some perspective, comparative New Zealand data is 6 per 1000 for both indicators.”

Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand John Bowis said the three-year commitment is a welcome and significant contribution for sustainable development assistance in Papua New Guinea.

“In 2003/04, the East Sepik Women and Children’s Health Project delivered essential health care to over 100,000 children and their families,” said Mr Bowis. “This new commitment will support the project’s new phase, which integrates the 430 Village Health Volunteers with the sparsely located - mainly church run - rural health centres, allowing Save the Children to ultimately withdraw from the Province with confidence that our work will continue.”

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