Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea, formally known as the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and located in Oceania, is the third largest island country in the world. It is made up of the eastern half of New Guinea and several islands throughout Melanesia. The population of 7.4 million is believed to be one of the world’s most culturally diverse and socially complex, with ethnic groups including Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, and Polynesian. Papua New Guinea is home to 839 different indigenous languages, with English and Tok Pisin as the official languages. Only 14 percent of the population lives in urban areas, making Papua New Guinea one of the most rural countries in the world. Much of the population continues to live a traditional lifestyle, in varied settlement patterns.
Papua New Guinea achieved independence from Australia in 1975; since then it has had difficulty governing its culturally diverse population, which is divided by customs, language, and traditions. The majority of the population is employed in the agricultural, forestry, and fishing industries, many of them at a subsistence level. Another major sector includes mineral and energy-resource extraction. Because the economy is resource-dominated, there are few opportunities for young people to pursue formal jobs.
Papua New Guinea faces many health challenges. Residents have a high risk of major infectious diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid fever, dengue and malaria. In addition, 28 percent of children under age five are underweight, one of the highest rates in the world. As such, life expectancy in Papua New Guinea is one of the lowest in the world, at 65 years. Between 2009 and 2019, the incidence of death due to diabetes increased substantially, by over 51 percent. Other leading causes of death include ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infection, stroke, COPD, neonatal disorders, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, road injuries, and congenital defects. Malaria continues to be a leading cause of death, although the total number of deaths due to malaria has decreased by nearly 60 percent since 2009. The risk factors that contributemost to deaths and disabilities include malnutrition, air pollution, high fasting plasma glucose, tobacco use, lack of sanitation and clean water, dietary risks, high blood pressure, high body-mass index, unsafe sex, and high LDL.