Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
  • Gained independence from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship on September 16, 1975
  • Location: Oceania, a group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
  • Area: 178,703 sq. miles, slightly larger than the state of California
  • Population: 6,672,429
  • Capital: Port Moresby (pop. 345,000)
  • Climate: tropical; northwest monsoon (Dec.-March), southeast monsoon (May-Oct.), slight seasonal temperature variation
  • Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
  • Nationality: Papua New Guineans
  • Ethnic groups: Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian, others (the most heterogeneous country in the world)
  • Languages: Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official) – over 841 languages listed
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 69.4%, other
  • Literacy: 64.2%
  • Economy: Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the people.  One-third of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Mineral deposits of copper, gold, and oil account for 2/3 of the country’s export earnings.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • Papua New Guinea government is a constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
  • Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952), represented by Governor General Michael Ogio (since 2011) – appointed by the monarchy
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Peter Paire O’Neill (since 2011), leader of the majority party or majority coalition party and appointed by the governor general

Healthcare Statistics

  • Maternal mortality rate: 215/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 38.55/1,000
  • Life expectancy: 67.03 years
  • Health expenditures: 4.5% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 0.06 physicians/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.72%
  • Major infections diseases risk: very high
  • Infectious diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria
  • Malaria is the leading cause of death.
  • Children under the age of 5 underweight: 27.9%
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field


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Area Agencies

Field Stories

SAFE TRAVELS ABROAD Mission work abroad can be very exciting and rewarding…truly an adventure you will remember the rest of your life. There are multiple ways to assure your safety on such missions. Here are a few I’ve learned along the way. Prior to your trip: 1. Do some research on not only the agency […]

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