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Caritas Australia collaborating with AusAID in PNG

Caritas Australia's vital healthcare work in Papua New Guinea is to be enhanced by an infusion of funding from AusAID, the Australian government's aid and development agency, Mr Jack de Groot, National Director of Caritas Australia announced yesterday.

In Papua New Guinea, Mr Bruce Davis Director General of AusAID, launched a $2.9 million grant to provide essential health and education services throughout the country.

The Catholic Church is one of the main organisations delivering health care in PNG. The Catholic Church portion of the funding will be channeled through Caritas Australia, which will complement the funds with additional contributions from its donors.

"This funding will enable the Catholic Church, a major provider of health care in Papua New Guinea, to improve its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic which is currently increasing alarmingly across the country," Mr de Groot said.

The government of PNG estimates that from a population of 5.2 million, up to 15,000 will become HIV infected in the next three years.

"Voluntary testing and AIDS care centres have been established at six centres throughout Papua New Guinea. During the next nine months this will be expanded to include three more HIV care centres across the country," Mr de Groot said.

Caritas Australia will also train an additional National Catholic AIDS coordinator and recruit 12 HIV diocesan based workers, creating the opportunity of HIV management across the country.

Training in HIV/AIDS management for 320 health care workers and additional workshops for 480 school teachers who will deliver AIDS health education to their students will also be provided.

Funded under the Australia - PNG aid program, the five year Churches Partnership Program will run until 2009 and increase the churches capacity to contribute to PNG's development and social stability.

Caritas Australia works with AusAID (Caritas Australia 23/11/04)

Caritas Australia
Australia PNG Church Partnership to Boost Services (AusAID 23/11/04)
AusAID turns to churches to deliver PNG aid (Radio Australia 24/11/04)

24 Nov 2004