July 21, 2014

Public–private partnerships making a real difference in Papua New Guinea

A satellite event on 21 July at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, explored how public–private partnerships are leveraged in the response to HIV in Papua New Guinea. The event highlighted in particular the role of the private sector in building innovative partnerships that form the foundation for successful public health interventions.

Papua New Guinea remains the most HIV affected country in the Pacific region, with a prevalence of 0.7%. It is a very challenging environment in which to operate, especially to implement and scale‐up HIV interventions in rural and remote regions. In many of these difficult to reach regions the private sector, and in particular the resource industry, has a strong operational and logistical capacity that can be leveraged to strengthen health systems.

One significant public–private partnership in Papua New Guinea is between Oil Search (the largest oil and gas exploration and development company incorporated in Papua New Guinea), the National Department of Health and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), which brings together corporate business systems, technical country expertise and multilateral funding.

Speaking at the meeting, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Jan Beagle commended such initiatives and stressed the vital importance of building multisectoral alliances to broaden and deepen the AIDS response, especially as the post-2015 development agenda is being defined. She also emphasized the importance of collective leadership from governments, civil society, international organizations and the private sector. Her sentiments were echoed by other high-level speakers, including Michael Malabag, Minister of Health of Papua New Guinea, Brett Mason, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Oil Search Managing Director Peter Botten and Mark Dybul, the Executive Director of the Global Fund.


“In Papua New Guinea, we have very good positive results from our public–private partnerships. The government has appreciated, in particular, the role of Oil Search as well as our partnerships with UNAIDS, the Government of Australia, the Global Fund and others.”

Michael Malabag, Minister of Health of Papua New Guinea

“The partnership between the Oil Search Health Foundation and the Papua New Guinea Department of Health intends to leverage our respective strengths. The Department of Health brings a lot of knowledge and expertise. The Foundation brings logistics, community presence and further health and systems expertise with a delivery ethos more typical of the private sector.”

Peter Botten, Oil Search Managing Director

“Ending AIDS by 2030 will require keeping HIV high on the post-2015 development agenda, and the active engagement of all stakeholders, including the private sector.”

Jan Beagle, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director