The deployment of the first batch of 132,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines provided through the COVAX Facility is underway in Papua New Guinea (PNG). One of the world’s largest gold mining companies, Newcrest, has donated approximately AUD 2.5million to UNICEF to support the roll-out in the country’s New Ireland Province.
Together with an additional estimated AUD 290,000 in in-kind logistics support, this is the largest contribution from a company for the vaccine deployment in PNG and will enable:
- Planning and coordination in country
- Vaccine delivery to reach the target population with immunisation
- Training of health workers
- Community engagement to build trust and encourage uptake
- Systems strengthening to deliver critical routine vaccination for children.
“The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine is an important first step in protecting essential workers to ensure that they in turn can do their jobs to keep the community, including children, safe,” said Claudes Kamenga, UNICEF’s Representative in Papua New Guinea.
“In close collaboration with the PNG National Department of Health, WHO and development partners, UNICEF is on the ground and supporting the roll-out in communities.”
Newcrest Mining established a Community Support Fund of AUD 20 million in April 2020, half of which has been directed to assist Papua New Guinea in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then Newcrest has worked with organisations such as UNICEF to boost access to medical care and equipment nationally and provincially.
Most recently, Newcrest’s focus has turned to supporting the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine across New Ireland.
Newcrest Managing Director and CEO, Sandeep Biswas, said as long-term contributors to Papua New Guinea, the Company was committed to supporting government efforts to protect its people in responding to the pandemic.
“Newcrest supports the people of Papua New Guinea in this most challenging of times. The vaccine roll-out in New Ireland reinforces our long-term commitment to our host communities and to the health and safety of the people of Papua New Guinea,” said Mr Biswas.
New Ireland Governor, Sir Julius Chan, welcomed the efforts of Newcrest Mining in the fight against the spread of the virus.
“The response to COVID-19 is everybody’s business. It affects all of us, regardless of gender, social status, race or religion,” Sir Chan said.
As of 4 May 2021, there have been 11,407 COVID-19 cases, including 121 deaths reported in PNG. Vaccination remains an important public health tool against the COVID-19 pandemic and is effective at preventing severe cases, hospitalisation and death.
“COVID-19 is the biggest global crisis since World War Two and children will not be safe until everyone they rely on is safe. The only way we can overcome this crisis is to come together as a global community,” said Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia.
“As a Founding Member of UNICEF Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Alliance, Newcrest is contributing not only vital funds for UNICEF’s COVID-19 emergency response in PNG but also demonstrating a leading role in how the private sector can support this response.”
The latest donation from Newcrest is in addition to its contribution in 2020 of AUD $1million. This donation helped UNICEF to procure Personal Protective Equipment for all 22 provinces in PNG as well as supply ventilator equipment and train frontline health workers who provide care for critically ill COVID-19 patients in ICU settings.
UNICEF is leading the largest ever vaccine procurement and supply operation for COVAX. The global COVAX Facility was set up to ensure equitable and safe access to a COVID-19 vaccine worldwide.
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Photos available here