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By Alison Anis

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 28) - The Australian and PNG governments have entered into a PGK50 million [US$17.6 million] subsidiary agreement to improve access to health services, especially in sexually transmitted infection’s (STI) and HIV services in the rural communities.

Head of AusAID in PNG, Magaret Thomas, and deputy secretary for Public Investment Programme with the Department of Planning signed the agreement yesterday at the Vulupindi Haus in the presence of officials from AusAID, the Health Department and media organizations.

The signing ceremony brings into effect the PNG-Australia sexual health improvement Programme (PASHIP) that targets women and youth groups and will have a strong focus on reducing the rate of increase of HIV across the country.

"PASHIP will also involve Australian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in partnership with PNG organizations to deliver services in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of STIs and will also complement health services by addressing areas of high risk and most critical need," Ms. Thomas said.

The program is in line with both the PNG government’s Medium Term Development Strategy and the national strategic plan for the PNG health sector in:

Ms Thomas said the program was the culmination of two years of consultations; planning and project design preparations between stakeholders at the national, provincial and district level and cemented a five-year agreement between the two governments.

"Over this period, Australia will provide PGK50 million towards a program that will directly address the sexual health needs of Papua New Guineans."

AusAID have identified eight provinces where the program would be delivered by four NGOs.


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