Antivenom Partnership saving lives in PNG

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care
19 September 2021

A successful partnership between the Australian Government, Papua New Guinea’s Department of Health and Australian company Seqirus has been extended by two years to 2023, having helped to save more than 500 lives over the last three years.

The PNG Snakebite Partnership now represents a $750,000 commitment from the Morrison Government over five years, supporting Seqirus’ donation of up to 600 vials of antivenom a year to PNG, and the training of frontline healthcare workers in snakebite patient management.

To date, the partnership has provided training to hundreds of healthcare workers and shared 1,450 vials of antivenoms for venomous snakebites and marine creature stings.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said the Morrison Government had a clear strategy to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians and provide support to people in our region.

“Our ongoing support for PNG is bolstered by our strategic partnership with Seqirus for the onshore production of antivenoms, pandemic influenza vaccines, seasonal flu vaccines and Q fever vaccines,” Minister Hunt said.

In 2020 the Morrison Government announced a $1 billion investment which will enable new high-tech vaccine manufacturing facility to be developed in Melbourne to secure Australia’s long-term supply of critical health products.

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said the timing of the extension coincided with International Snakebite Awareness Day.

“While responding to COVID-19 in our region, Australia remains committed to supporting the broader health security of our neighbours, and with one of the highest incidences of snakebites in the world this partnership provides critical support to improving patient outcomes in PNG,” Minister Seselja said.

“The Morrison Government is proud to partner with leaders from our private sector to increase access to life-saving treatments in PNG.”

The partnership was also welcomed by Papua New Guinean Minister for Health the Hon. Jelta Wong.

“We welcome the renewal of this partnership to increase access to antivenoms in PNG. Snakebites continue to be a serious public health issue and the improved supply and specialist training is helping to save lives and reduce the burden of snakebites in PNG,” Minister Wong said.

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