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Kingdom of Tonga

Capital

Nukuʻalofa

Official Languages

Tongan, English

Area

748 km2 (289 sq mi)

Population

103,036

Currency

Pa’anga

General

The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the southern Pacific Ocean, approximately 900km south of Samoa and 700 km east-southeast of Fiji. Tonga is comprised of over 170 islands and islets, of which around 36 are inhabited. Tonga is governed by a constitutional monarchy. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by the Parliament and appointed by the Monarch. In 2013, Tonga was classified as an upper-middle income country with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of US$ 4240.The primary sector, including subsistence farming as well as agricultural, forestry and fishery exports forms the backbone of Tonga’s economy. Tourism is hoped to hold significant economic potential for Tonga as has been the case in Fiji and Samoa.

Health Overview

Tonga’s primary health-care system has delivered levels of antenatal care, immunisation, and hospital deliveries comparable to that of high-income countries. Combined with good access to improved water and sanitation, this has led to a significant reduction in the burden of infectious disease and maternal and child deaths in Tonga since the 1970s. However, improvements in health status are now being reversed by the rise of non-communicable diseases to levels which are described as an epidemic. Tonga has undergone a profound epidemiological transition since the 1950s. Then, infectious diseases accounted for 32% of deaths, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounted for less than 6% of deaths (WPRO, 2011). Today, NCDs, namely cancers, CVD, respiratory disease, diabetes and other NCDs, account for almost three in every four (74%) deaths across all ages (WHO, 2011).

Health Workforce

The Government currently provides the majority of the country’s primary health care through the network of reproductive and child health clinics, health centres and hospitals. In 2013, there were 809 health workers employed by the Ministry of Health, with the nursing workforce making up the largest proportion at 38.4%. Almost 70% of the health workers are women, including half of all managerial posts and half of the generalist medical practitioner posts.

Health Infrastructure

Health services in Tonga are provided by a network of 34 maternal and child health clinics, 14 health centres, three district hospitals and the tertiary referral hospital, Vaiola Hospital, located in Nuku’alofa. The four hospitals also provide primary health care to the populations of their respective island groups through outpatient and emergency departments.

WHO

Tonga joined WHO on 15 August 1975 as a Member State. It was covered by the WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific since its establishment, and the WHO Country Liaison Officer was designated in March 1981.

Country Liaison Officer in Tonga: Dr. Yutaro Setoya
Address: Ministry of Health Nuku’alofa Tonga
Telephone: (676) 23-217
Email: mailto:wptonclo@who.int

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health is responsible for the administration and delivery of preventive and curative public health services in Tonga. It is divided into six divisions: Administration, Health Planning and Information, Public Health, Medical, Nursing, and Dental. Health-care services are decentralised and managed geographically through four health districts which correspond to the main island groups.

Address: Ministry of Health, Vaiola hospital P.O. Box 59, Nukualofa, Kingdom of Tonga
Telephone: (676) 23 200
Email: mohtonga@kalianet.to

Health Training Institutions

The majority of post-secondary education in Tonga is conducted overseas; however, there exist several facilities in Tonga. These include nursing and medical training schools, the University of the South Pacific (USP), and some private institutions. The University of the South Pacific (USP) has three campuses in Tonga. The main campus is in Nuku’alofa, and there are also campuses in Ha’apai and Vava’u.

USP Tonga Campus
PO Box 278, Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Tel: (676) 29055/29240
Fax: (676) 29249
Website: https://www.usp.ac.fj/index.php?id=usp_tonga_campus

Queen Salote Institute of Nursing and Allied Health
QSSN offers the only accredited training of health professionals in Tonga (accredited by the Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board)
It offers 2 accredited programmes – the Diploma of Nursing and the Advanced Diploma in NCD Nursing. The Queen Salote Institute is the only health professions training facility in Tonga.

Ahopanilolo Technical Institute
Address: Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Phone: +676 25-091
http://www.atitonga.com/
Programme in nursing

Accrediting bodies

Currently, the Queen Salote School of Nursing (QSSN) offers the only accredited health professional training courses in Tonga. Accreditation is granted through the Tongan Nurses Board for Professionalism, and the Tongan National Qualifications and Accreditation Board (TNQAB). TNQAB is responsible for ensuring that qualifications in post-compulsory education and training are undertaken in Tonga are valued as credible, both nationally and internationally, and it works closely with the New Zealand Higher Education Accreditation Board.

Contact details:
Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board
Molisi City Central , Salote Road.
P.O.Box 65, Nuku’alofa, TONGA
Tel: +676 28136 | Fax: +676 28138
Email: info@tnqab.to
http://www.tnqab.com

Scholarships

All scholarships are the responsibility of the Scholarships Unit of the Ministry of Education. When a health-related scholarship becomes available, applicants can be selected in two ways. Applicants can be chosen through a competitive application process, i.e. they are interviewed by the Ministry of Health, or the Ministry can advertise the scholarship through its staff and nominate a receiver. Many of the scholarships were awarded through the Australian Regional Development Scholarships (ARDS) programme.

https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/Documents/tonga.pdf

Geography and demographics

The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the southern Pacific Ocean, approximately 900km south of Samoa and approximately 700 km east-southeast of Fiji. Tonga is comprised of over 170 islands and islets, of which around 36 are inhabited. Tonga is governed by a constitutional monarchy. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by the Parliament and appointed by the Monarch. In 2013, Tonga was classified as an upper-middle income country with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of US$ 4240. The primary sector, including subsistence farming as well as agricultural, forestry and fishery exports, forms the backbone of Tonga’s economy. Tourism is hoped to hold significant economic potential for Tonga as has been the case in Fiji and Samoa.

Politics

Tonga is a constitutional monarchy, the only governance system of its kind in the Pacific. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by the Parliament and appointed by the Monarch. The Parliament has 26 seats, of which approximately 17 are elected through popular vote, while the others are elected from among the nobles.

Economy

Tonga is a constitutional monarchy, the only governance system of its kind in the Pacific. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by the Parliament and appointed by the Monarch. The Parliament has 26 seats, of which approximately 17 are elected through popular vote, while the others are elected from among the nobles.

Tourism

The tourism industry in Tonga is steadily growing. It is well-known for its whale watching, and swimming with humpback whales is a popular tourist activity. Other adventure sports include snorkelling, diving, kayaking, kite surfing, sailing, and fishing. For more leisurely activities, tourists can visit Tonga’s pristine beaches, explore its rich cultural history through its traditional villages, or go on a bird–watching- tour.

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