Papua New Guinea

Population: 6,057,263 (July 2009 est)
GDP per capita (PPP): $2,200 (2008 est)
Total expenditure on health per capita: $134 (Intl $, 2006) 

PNG occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, which is north of Australia and adjacent to Indonesia. The nation achieved independence in 1975. The people are very diverse, and the nation has more languages than any other country in the world.
Implementing Partner in-Country: HOPE worldwide (PNG) (Clinical care done at Government clinics)

Life for a Child Support

Commenced 2001

Type 1 diabetes in children is very rare in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This is fortunate as the prognosis to date has been poor. Most of the population live in villages, with limited access to health care. Very few physicians in the country have any experience with type 1 diabetes. There is a free basic health system, but resources are scarce. Insulin is provided by the Government, but glucometers and testing strips have to be privately purchased at premium prices.

Jacklyne (pictured) was the first child supported by the Life for a Child program. Her picture was on the program’s first brochures for prospective donors, and her story was written up in the IDF’s Journal Diabetes Voice. The program made a marked difference in her wellness and quality of life.  Despite diabetes and other serious medical problems, she was a stoic and cheerful child, and her story inspired many around the world. Sadly she passed away in 2007, but her legacy carries on.

Now, the program is helping some youth with type 2 – type 2 diabetes is extremely common in some tribal groups in PNG, and is starting to be diagnosed in youth.