Republic of Palau
United States Dollar
Geography and demographics
Palau is an archipelago of 340 islands located in the Western Pacific. Only eight of these are inhabited by its population, with 79% of the population residing in the greater Koror urban area. Palau is a democratic republic and is divided into 16 states. Each state elects its own governor and legislature. The president and vice-president are elected by popular vote. The Council of Chiefs, comprising representatives from the 16 states, is an advisory body to the president and is consulted on issues related to traditional laws and customs. Palau is in free association with the United States of America. Economic activities include tourism, handicrafts, subsistence agriculture, construction and fishing.
Palau is an independent democratic republic in a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Its executive and legislative branches are directly elected, with presidential elections taking place every four years. The Palau National Congress has two houses, with nine members in the Senate and sixteen in the House of Delegates. The President is both the Head of State and the Head of Government.
More than half of Palau’s workforce is employed by the service sector, which is also the biggest contributor to its economy. In addition to this, it has an advanced tourism sector and well-developed private sector. Other contributors to the economy include fisheries and small-scale agriculture. The currency is the United States Dollar.
Palau has much to offer tourists in the way of nature, history and culture. Its famous lagoons and islands offer swimming, snorkelling and diving. The famous Ngardmau Falls and Jellyfish lagoon are also a must-see. For a more cultural experience, Palau has incredible ancient ruins and various museums, as well as some wonderful night markets. Those who prefer a more slow-paced atmosphere can stay on one of the island’s many resorts, where some of the world’s most beautiful beaches make for ideal relaxation.
Palau has undergone an epidemiological shift. The burden of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and kidney failure is increasing. Water pollution is a concern due to the lack of sufficient land area for proper waste disposal, and progressive industrial development will continue to worsen air and marine quality.
Health services are available at Belau National Hospital, four community centres known as super dispensaries and four additional satellite dispensaries. Belau National Hospital is a public hospital and the main health facility in the country. The hospital has 80 beds, with a total of 402 staff. It also houses Palau’s Ministry of Health. Other private centres include Belau Medical Clinic, Pacific Medical Supply and Family Surgical Clinic.
The Government aims to have sufficient numbers of trained and qualified staff to provide quality services in all outlying dispensaries, including the more remote areas and islands as well as at Belau National Hospital.
In May 1953, Palau was assigned to the Western Pacific Region at the Sixth World Health Assembly "without prejudice to any questions regarding sovereignty" as an area. It was a member of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands dominated by the United States of America until the Office of the High Commissioner determined to end the association on 10 July 1987. All functions were transferred to individual governments, including Palau. On 9 March 1995, Palau joined WHO as one of its Member States. Palau was initially covered by the WHO Representative Office in Singapore in 1957, and by the WHO Representative Office in Taipei, China (Taiwan) from 1959 to 30 June 1972, when the Ofice was closed. In 1972, responsibility for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was transferred to the Western Pacific Regional Office, and in 1976, it was decided that the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was to come under the WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. In August 2010, the WHO Country Liaison Office was established in the Federated States of Micronesia to cover the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.
Health training institutions
Palau’s only higher education institution is the Palau Community College. Located in Koror, it offers associate degrees in fields such as nursing, business and liberal arts.
Due to the country’s isolation, many students from Palau choose to undertake their tertiary education abroad, most commonly at San Diego State University in the US and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.
Country health profile
Access Palau country profile (CHIPS 2015-2016)
Access UHC and SDG country profile
WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2018-2022 : Palau
Health Profiles – Palau, Health Financing
National immunization data – EPI summaries by country
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