Gold miner Newcrest donated about $A2.5 million to UNICEF to support the roll out of vaccinations to frontline health care workers in the country's New Ireland Province.
UNICEF said that together with an additional estimated $A290,000 of in-kind logistics support, "this is the largest contribution from a company for the vaccine deployment in PNG".
UNICEF said it would 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; and systems strengthening to deliver critical routine vaccination for children.
"The roll-out of the 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," UNICEF PNG representative Claudes Kamenga said.
"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 $A20 million in April 2020, half of which has been directed to assist Papua New Guinea in its response to the pandemic. Since then, Newcrest has worked with organisations such as UNICEF to boost access to medical care and equipment nationally and provincially.
Newcrest 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," Biswas said.
New Ireland Governor Julius Chan welcomed the efforts of Newcrest.
"The response to Covid-19 is everybody's business. It affects all of us, regardless of gender, social status, race or religion," Chan said.
"Covid-19 is the biggest global crisis since the Second World War 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," UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said
"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 $A1million. 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.