Find Health and Medical expertise in Vanuatu

The Ministry of Health is responsible for the four provincial hospitals and two referral hospitals in Vanuatu; the two major referral hospitals are located in Port Vila (Central Hospital) and Luganville (Northern District Hospital). Port Vila’s Central Hospital suffered substantial damage in March 2015 when Cyclone Pam hit the islands. There are a number of health centres and clinics around the islands providing preventative medicine and inpatient, outpatient and primary care. There are around 100 active dispensaries.

The Ministry of Health heads the four tiers of public health facilities (hospitals, health centres, dispensaries and aid posts). Support from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based services supplement government-provided services. The private health sector in Vanuatu is a recent development and private health insurance is primarily utilised by expatriates, with services mainly available in towns.

With no local pharmaceutical industry, all pharmaceutical products are imported. There is no independent drug regulatory authority with a remit to monitor the importation of drugs. The Principal Pharmacist in the Ministry of Health is the most relevant oversees the market. Vanuatu is working with the WHO to strengthen its pharmaceutical policies and improve access to essential medicines and vaccinations.

One of the strategic priorities in Vanuatu’s World Health Organization Country Co-operation Strategic Agenda (2013–17) is for the country to improve access to services by rolling out primary health care interventions in all provinces and building a more responsive health system that addresses human resources, good management practices, medicines and technology.

Communicable and non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Vanuatu accounted for an estimated 71% of all mortality in 2008. The most prevalent NCDs in Vanuatu are cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 36% of total deaths across all age groups in 2008. Cancer, non-communicable variants of respiratory diseases and diabetes contributed 12%, 6% and 4% to total mortality, respectively (2008). Communicable diseases along with maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions in Vanuatu accounted for an estimated 24% of all mortality in 2008. A government paper on HIV/AIDS reported that in 2011 there were 4 people living with HIV in Vanuatu. In 2012 there were 3,435 cases of malaria in the country. The number of deaths from malaria fell by approximately 94% in the period 2003–11. In the period 1990–2013 there were considerable fluctuations in estimated incidence of tuberculosis (TB), with the figure considerably lower in 2013 than it was in 1990; estimated mortality (when mortality data excludes cases comorbid with HIV) from TB dropped significantly from 13 deaths per 100,000 people in 2007 to 6.3 in 2013.

In 2013 government expenditure on health was 3.4% of GDP. In the most recent survey, conducted between 1997 and 2010, there were 12 doctors, and 170 nurses and midwives per 100,000 people. Additionally, in the period 2007–12, 74% of births were attended by qualified health staff and in 2013, 52% of one-year-olds were immunised with a dose of measles. In 2014, 93% of people were using an improved drinking water source and 58% had access to adequate sanitation facilities. The most recent survey, conducted in the period 2000–11, reports that Vanuatu has o1 pharmaceutical professional per 100,000 people.

Less than an eighth of health care in Vanuatu (13%) was paid for by patients or funded by other non-governmental entities – such as private insurers, charities or employers – in 2012. Total health expenditure constituted 3.6% of GDP in 2012, of which 87% (US$100 per capita) was covered by the government.

Vanuatu 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 Vanuatu
Ministry for Health