Find Health and Medical expertise in Nauru

In 1999 Nauru’s two hospitals, the government-run Nauru General Hospital and the private Nauru Phosphate Corporation Hospital, amalgamated into the state-run Republic of Nauru Hospital (RONH), which provides free medical and dental treatment for all citizens.

RONH is located in Yaren and provides basic medical care; special treatment is mainly limited to diabetes and other obesity-related diseases at the Naoero Public Health Centre, run by the Department of Public Health. Radiological services and lab work are available at RONH and there is an operating theatre, but no facilities for MRI or CT scans. Anyone with serious illnesses and injuries that cannot be treated on the island must be sent by air to Australia. There is no pharmaceutical manufacturing or independent drug regulatory authority in Nauru. The Republic of Nauru Pharmacy imports pharmaceuticals from Australia and the Netherlands, and suffers from frequent shortages in supply as well as disruptions in distribution.

National Sustainable Development Strategy

As part of the government’s National Sustainable Development Strategy, the Nauru NCD Action Plan was initiated in 2009 to combat high levels of diabetes and obesity by encouraging physical activity and nutritional education, and discouraging alcohol and tobacco use. Figures from 2004 show that 58% of 25 to 64-year-olds were obese, with 23% suffering from diabetes. Nauru’s WHO Country Co-operation Strategic Agenda (2013–17) prioritises preventative measures towards obesity and diabetes through use of an improved food control system. Unhealthy lifestyle choices are linked to limited agricultural production in Nauru and high costs of importing fresh foods.

The Nauru National Sustainable Development Strategy 2005–25 includes a commitment to the provision of effective clinical and preventive health services, such as those to treat, screen for and reduce NCDs as set out in the Nauru National NCD Action Plan. The strategy also commits to meeting the requirements of the conventions of the United Nations, such as the WHO Framework of Convention on Tobacco Control, the International Convention on Population Development and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also looks to making improvements to health information, developing human resources in the health sector and improving medicinal and equipment management systems.

Australian funding has helped to create more senior management roles in the Ministry for Health, as well as more support staff in the public health sector and training for existing health staff. Aid to the tune of AUS$3.9 million (2013–14) has also gone towards hospital maintenance, the supply of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, help with nurses’ salaries and medical specialist visits.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for an estimated 70% of all mortality in Nauru in 2008. The most prevalent NCDs in Nauru are cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 40% of total deaths across all age groups in 2008. Cancer, non-communicable variants of respiratory diseases and diabetes contributed 9%, 5% and 4% to total mortality, respectively (2008). Communicable diseases along with maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions accounted for an estimated 19% of all mortality in 2008. As of 2011 there were no known cases of HIV/AIDS in the country. Nauru falls into a list of countries compiled by the World Health Organization in which malaria never existed or disappeared without specific measures. The estimated incidence of tuberculosis (TB) saw a significant decline in the period 2006–12, while estimated mortality from the disease showed a notable increase in this time. Figures for both are higher than they were in 1999.

The most commonly diagnosed mental illness in Nauru is depression. The condition has been found to be common among the small population of asylum seekers awaiting entry to Australia.

Government expenditure

In 2012 government expenditure on health was equivalent to US$491 per capita. In the most recent survey, conducted between 2007 and 2012, 97% of births in Nauru were attended by qualified health staff. In 2012, 96% of the country’s population had access to an improved water source and 66% to adequate sanitation facilities. The most recent survey, conducted in the period 2000–11, reports that Nauru has 50 pharmaceutical staff per 100,000 people.

Total government health expenditure in Nauru amounts to US$491 per capita (2012). The island’s hospital provides free medical and dental treatment for all citizens.

Nauru is not a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the covenant that commits signees to the ensuring ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’.

Health and Medical organisations in Nauru
Ministry of Health