The Health Department and Paediatric Society estimate that infections (neonatal sepsis), many of which start in the umbilical cord, are responsible for 25% of the deaths, The National newspaper reports.
Neonatal sepsis is the bacterial infection occurring after the birth of a child, especially during the first month.
Reducing this high rate of newborn mortality in PNG is the target of a collaboration between global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and PNG's Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies (HMHB).
The programme includes collaboration from the government, church health services, Burnet Institute, PNG Institute of Medical Research and Unicef on the health initiative for mothers and newborns in East New Britain.
The project aims to improve healthcare in the days after childbirth, including facilitating the use of chlorhexidine, a topical antiseptic proven to reduce neonatal sepsis and save lives.
The chlorhexidine gel (brand named Umbipro) comes in single-use sachets that do not require refrigeration, making it suitable for PNG settings, The National reported.
The supply chain for the initiative was made possible by City Pharmacy Ltd.
GSK's senior vice-president Dr Pauline Williams said: "Our simple chlorhexidine gel was developed through a partnership with Save the Children, and is a great illustration of how collaboration can stimulate imaginative responses to tough challenges.
"I hope that now, through our collaboration with the Burnet-led HMHB programme to help protect vulnerable newborns in PNG, we will see a positive scalable impact, and keep more babies alive."