Papua New Guinea Appeal No. 01.70/2003

Originally published


(In CHF)
(In CHF)
1. Health and Care
2. Disaster Management
4. Organizational Development
1 USD 846,401 or EUR 839,200.
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.


As the new Secretary General of the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society (PNGRCS) is fully functional after one year in her place, the roles of PNGRCS as an implementer and the International Federation as a facilitator, are now well understood and perceived. The ultimate goal of the Federation's support to the PNGRCS for the next two years is to increase the level of their self-sustainability in financial, material and human resources. The retention of qualified national society staff, good support from the governance to management, mutual understanding and good cooperation between national headquarters and the branches, and better level of funding both from inside and outside the country are the key issues for the PNGRCS. Based on the recognition duly agreed by the PNGRCS and the Federation, this year's Appeal will focus on the core area activities outlined in Strategy 2010.

The Federation's country delegation in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a direct reporting line to the regional delegation (RD) in Suva in establishing more structural links as well as to maximize the resources available in this region. Since the health delegate left the delegation early in December 2001, the regional health delegate based in Suva is covering the health and care programme in PNG. In line with the ongoing developments related to the Federation's 'Strategy for Change' and the Asia and Pacific regional implementation plan, the basic management infrastructure of the PNG delegation will be further reviewed and discussed in conjunction with the structure of the Suva's RD during the next year.

Country Strategy

Papua New Guinea is the last string of islands spilling down from South East Asia into the Pacific, and forming a transition zone between the two areas. It has a total land area of 465,000 square kilometres and is the largest country in the South Pacific. At least 85 per cent of its 5.2 million people live in rural areas, despite increasing urban migration to the major centres and are basically still subsistence farmers.

Generally, the nutritional status of the population is poor. According to WHO, in 1995 the prevalence of underweight children under the age of five was 20-29 per cent. PNG has the lowest life expectancy in the South Pacific, an average of 51.8 years, and the worst infant mortality rate, estimated at 79 per 1,000 births. Only 28 per cent of PNG's population has access to safe drinking water, and only 22 per cent has access to sanitation. PNG experiences the same profile of health problems as other developing countries, with infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS representing the main burden. The number of reported HIV/AIDS cases grew at an alarming rate, giving PNG the highest prevalence rate in the entire Pacific region. Tuberculosis has re-emerged as a major public health problem. PNG's education indicators are also poor. The adult literacy rate is only 45 per cent and primary education is only reaching 56 per cent of school-age children.

PNG, a former colony of Australia, gained its independence in late 1975. It has a three-tier system of government (national, provincial and local) based on the Australian and Westminster models. It has an independent judiciary and public service. The political system is still in a strengthening process. There are still serious law and order problems in some provinces such as Bougainville and the Highlands. The language distribution in PNG is the most complex in the world, with over 800 languages or dialects in use, although English is the official language for government, business and education issues. Pidgin and Motu are the country's languages widely used in the Papua region.

The PNGRCS was established in 1976, after having been a division of the Australian Red Cross Society until its country's independence. Although well known, it is still a very small society, with about 400 members in eight branches covering seven of the 20 provinces. Currently there are two more interim-branches in the process of getting recognition as full branches: Bougainville and West Sepik provinces.

National Society Priorities

Over the past few years the PNGRCS has focused on rebuilding and strengthening its headquarters staff as part of its efforts to expand its programmes and provide or extend support for its branches. Through the Federation-assisted organizational development, disaster management and health programmes, today the society is in a position to launch various programme activities such as community based self-reliance, community based disaster preparedness, HIV/AIDS prevention, first aid, blood recruitment programme, dissemination and youth programme.

In 1999, the PNGRCS drew up a five-year plan, listing its priority programmes similar to the Federation's Strategy 2010. A review of this plan was carried out in November 2001 to cover the period from 2002 - 2006. The PNGRCS core areas of activities are:

  • HIV/AIDS awareness/counseling programme;
  • disaster preparedness and response (DP);
  • community based self-reliance (CBSR);
  • promotion of the fundamental principles and international humanitarian law (IHL); and
  • organizational development/resource development (OD) which includes strengthening of the national society at all levels and building the volunteer corps of the society- including the youth.

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