Information by Country

Papua New Guinea: Background

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
Papua New Guinea is widely dispersed over 462,840 square kilometres of land area with very difficult terrain, the population is young and has a high proportion of unemployed.  Papua New Guinea is prone to natural disasters, and in the last decade alone has experienced multiple incidences of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, droughts and killer frost that have resulted in a loss of lives; displacement of families; destruction of crops, property and livelihoods ; and disruption to social services, such as health and education.

The country was declared polio free in 2000. However, immunization coverage has stagnated in the last decade, with only about one half of children under one year old being reached with polio and measles vaccines, and only 44 per cent of pregnant women receiving tetanus toxoid immunization. Preventable diseases, such as measles, pneumonia and diarrhoea, are still the major causes of morbidity and mortality. The inadequate coverage of antenatal care and the low number of births attended by trained health professionals increase the risk to both mother and child during delivery. Access to potable water and sanitary latrines remains limited only to urban areas.


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