About West New Britain

West New Britain Province 2019

West New Britain is one of the two provinces that make up the island of New Britain.  This island paradise covers an area of 20,387 square kilometres which is divided into two districts Kandrian-Gloucester and Talasea. The capital is Kimbe which is situated in the later. The province is covered with stunning natural features with long tracks of rainforest entwined around both active and dormant volcanos. WNB’s economy has been strengthened by strong oil palm and logging industries as well as a small yet budding tourist industry centred around diving, fishing and more recently birding. Yet WNB is struggling under its current population growth rate which is exacerbated by immigration from other provinces with people looking for employment. In 2011, population levels were estimated at 265,000, however in 2018, the population has rose to approximately 311,671

Health in West New Britain

West New Britain Provincial Health Authority is well established and focused on proving better health outcomes for the province. But the task is made difficult by the increased need for health care and the isolation of the Kandrian-Gloucester district due to a lack of roads and the distances needed to be travelled by banana boat transport. The maintenance of health facilities, the supply of essentials medications and the professional development of remote health staff are all made more difficult due to this isolation.

Catholic Health Services and other faith-based organisations are actively supporting the PHA across the province with New Britain Palm Oil also involved.

Main health concerns

Malaria, tuberculous and skin disease are three of the major health concerns in the province. Public health interventions relating to community education on the prevention, understanding and treatment of these conditions is required.  Musculoskeletal disease is also a very common condition across the province which is associated with the high levels of manual labour employment. Immunisation levels for measles and pentavalent vaccine coverage have fallen from their peak of 90% in 2009 to 60% currently and this may well relate back to population growth and transport difficulties. Under-5 mortality is estimated at close to 7% especially in the southern districts. However, births at health facilities are under-reported and have been increasing. The provincial health authority is supporting family planning programs to increase birth spacing and to improve maternal mortality and slow population growth.

Key health indicators

Indicators as reported in
NDoH 2019 SPAR

Talasea District

Kandrian-
Gloucester district

Facility births

74%

 32%

Antenatal care

82%

68%

Family Planning

80 CYP

27 CYP

Malnutrition in children under 5

21%

45%

Measles vaccination levels

59%

27%

Outreach clinics per 1000 children U/5 23 11