Access to Basic Services

Access to basic services



Health is one of the essential components for developing a nation and its people and is also recognized as a basic human right. Weakness within the Papua New Guinea procurement and distribution systems has meant a shortage of quality essential medicines and medical supplies, as well as uneven skills among health workers and poor access to quality health care services.

The UN works with the Government to establish a system that will improve the notification of maternal deaths. Gaining insights into the circumstances surrounding each death can help towards a course of prevention. In addition, the UN is revising the maternal and child health immunization package to more effectively tackle mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases, and to help address childhood illness. We promote universal access to comprehensive primary health care services throughout the country. We also focus on improving the health of vulnerable groups, such as women, children and the elderly, and on tackling the problems created by infectious and non-infectious diseases. Non-government organisations, faith based organisations and community based organisations all receive UN support in their efforts to prevent and control diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. Initiatives include mobile phone surveillance for epidemic-prone diseases, the training of field epidemiology staff and hand-washing programmes.


Education is central to a country’s social and economic development. Papua New Guinea is facing significant challenges in educating its people. Disparities exist not only between genders, but also between regions.

The United Nations has been working closely with the National Department of Education on capacity-building initiatives. The aim is to achieve Universal Basic Education and gender equality in elementary and primary education at national and provincial levels. Additional areas of focus include the provision of education during emergencies, and disaster risk reduction. The UN also encourages strong partnerships with other government institutions, provincial education offices, religious organizations and development partners. We support the Department for Community Development’s capacity to promote literacy, gender equity in education, early childhood care and development, and education about population issues in primary and secondary schools.