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Help deliver essential newborn care

Children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) face multiple challenges, including a fragile health system and access to timely and quality medical care. 

Infant mortality rates in PNG are among the worst in the world, with around 5,000 children dying each year in their first month of life, mostly from conditions that are easily prevented with basic medical care.  

Health facilities, particularly those servicing vulnerable communities, are under-resourced. Staff often lack training in maternal health and newborn care, and facilities are not equipped to handle emergency care. In rural and remote communities, mothers walk hours, even while in labour, to reach medical help.    

Alongside our partners, UNICEF is working with health providers and communities to improve early essential newborn care in provinces where the need is greatest. This support includes training community health volunteers in maternal and newborn health, ensuring health facilities have the equipment needed to provide basic obstetric and emergency care, providing information to communities on the importance of medical care for pregnant women and their babies, and procuring and distributing essential medicines and vaccines that will benefit young children.

1 in 47

Babies in Papua New Guinea die within the first month of life.

1 in 22

children pass away each year in Papua New Guinea before they reach their fifth birthday.


A helping hand when mothers need it most

Edith, a healthcare worker helps mothers when in labour© UNICEF PNG/Chambers/2023

In Papua New Guinea, only 56 per cent of births are delivered by a skilled health professional, making childbirth a dangerous and risky experience for many mothers and newborns.  

Some women choose to give birth at home because health facilities may not offer adequate services, like basic medical supplies. For others, like Vivienne, the nearest health facility can be over three hours away. 

"Many mothers give birth at home because of the long distances to health facilities, mountains to climb, or raging rivers to cross," says Vivienne.  

"Sometimes when we call for the ambulance, they tell us the ambulance is not working, so the mothers have no choice but to give birth at home." 

Vivienne is pregnant with her third child and after experiencing complications during her first child’s birth, and the premature arrival of her second child, she is advocating to other women to deliver their babies in the hospital. 

Vivienne and her husband, Gatanue, have recently been trained as Village Health Assistants, a group of volunteers trained by UNICEF to assist pregnant women and new mums in their communities. These volunteers provide health information and support and help mothers to access medical care.  

“Now that I have attended this training, I know that it is important to have supervised deliveries in the hospital…. With my third pregnancy now and with what I have learned in this training, I will deliver my baby in the hospital so that others can see that I am putting what I learned into practice and hopefully other mothers will follow me.”  

Help deliver essential newborn care

Donate today to help us deliver essential newborn care to ensure the children of Papua New Guinea not only survive but thrive.


newborns received a package of early essential newborn care between 2018 to 2022.


parents were supported to practice kangaroo care to keep their babies healthy and warm between 2018 to 2022.

A father holds his newborn baby against his chest.
Ikia is one of many dads in Papua New Guinea that UNICEF is supporting through Kangaroo care programs, which teaches parents how to keep their babies warm and healthy, by holding their newborn baby against their bare skin.
© UNICEF/UN0260051/Mepham

How will my donation help children in Papua New Guinea? 

Because UNICEF is 100 per cent donor funded – with some voluntary contributions from governments – our ability to provide long-term development programs like essential newborn care programs to vulnerable communities, depends on the generosity and commitment of donors, like you. We will combine your donation with funding from the Australian Government’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) to reach even more children in need. 

  • $73 can provide vaccines and immunisation services for 20 young children. 
  • $137 can support village health volunteers like Vivienne and Gatanue (above) to provide health information and services to 10 children and their parents.
  • $174 can provide 20 safe delivery kits for pregnant women in PNG. These kits include essential medical supplies like surgical gloves, antibacterial lotion and iron folic acid tablets.

    How do we use each dollar donated?

  • 82¢
    last year, 82 cents went directly to program expenditure and community education, including long-term development and emergency response work.
  • 13¢
    last year, 13 cents covered the essential costs of raising public awareness and fundraising to generate more support for UNICEF’s work.
  • 5¢
    last year, 5 cents were spent on UNICEF Australia’s accountability and administration.

Help deliver essential newborn care

Donate today to help us deliver essential newborn care to ensure the children of Papua New Guinea not only survive but thrive.