Republic of Vanuatu
Bislama, French, English
(4,706 sq mi)
Vanuatu vatu (VUV)
Health indicators are improving; with life expectancy increasing and child mortality rates decreasing. Communicable and infectious diseases have traditionally made up a large proportion of deaths and morbidity. However, non-communicable diseases are on the rise due to dietary changes, increase in alcohol consumption, rural to urban migration and foreign influences. Incidences of chronic disease are increasing and are expected to accelerate as the elderly and urban populations grow.
It is estimated there were 1261 government health workers in 2012, including 46 medical practitioners, 335 nurses and 62 midwives. There were also 206 village health workers spread across rural Vanuatu in aid posts. Women comprise almost half the health workforce due to the largely female nursing cadre. However, there are fewer women in highly skilled positions or in health management posts.
There are a total of 360 public health facilities consisting of two referral hospitals, three provincial hospitals, 27 health centres, 97 dispensaries and 231 aid posts.
Ministry of health
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is responsible for the delivery of health services, with the Office of the Director-General acting as a bridge between the Ministry of Health and the Public Service Commission (PSC). Health services are centralised with a referral system that is funded mostly by general taxation, user fees and donor sources.
Ministry of Health
Private Mail Bag 009,
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Telephone: (678) 22512
In May 1953, Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), was assigned to the Western Pacific Region at the Sixth World Health Assembly "without prejudice to any questions regarding its sovereignty" as an area. On 30 July 1980, New Hebrides won its independence from Britain and France and was renamed Vanuatu. It joined WHO on 7 March 1983 as a Member State. Vanuatu is covered by the WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific, and a WHO Country Liaison Officer was designated in March 1981.
WHO Country Liaison Officer in Vanuatu: Dr Jacob Kool
Address: Ministry of Health Iatika Complex, Cornwall Street, PO Box 177, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Telephone: (678) 27 683
Health training institutions
There is no public medical school in Vanuatu. Most doctors complete their training at the Fiji National University (FNU) or the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).
There are two nurse training schools in Vanuatu: the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education (VCNE), based in Port Vila; and the Vanuatu Health Training Institute (VHTI), based in Luganville.
Neither the VCNE nor the VHTI is accredited with any international agencies but both are registered with the Vanuatu Training Council. The Vanuatu College of Nursing Education operates under the Vanuatu Nursing Collect Act and has its own legally binding standards and Code of Practice.
Vanuatu Nursing Council (VNC)
Vanuatu College of Nursing Education
Ministry of Health
Contact Point: Mrs Evelyne Emile
In 2012 alone, 68 scholarships were allocated, 50% of which were given to female students. These scholarships are registered with the Training and Scholarships Coordination Unit (TSCU) at the Ministry of Education.
Between 2008 and 2011, AusAID, NZAID and the governments of Cuba and Vanuatu provided most of the scholarships.
Geography and demographics
Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands in the South Pacific Ocean. There are two urban centres, the capital, Port Vila, is located on the main island of Efaté, and Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo. The country is divided into six provinces, Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea. Vanuatu gained its independence from British and French rule in 1980. Today, it has a unicameral government, where the Parliament is made up of 52 members who are elected every four years by popular vote. The President, elected for a 5-year term, holds the role of head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Vanuatu economy is largely based on agriculture, with approximately 80% of the population engaged in subsistence farming or farming cash crops. The economy is driven by exports of copra, timber, beef and cocoa, tourism and foreign aid contributions.
Vanuatu gained its independence from British and French rule in 1980. Today, it has a unicameral government, where the Parliament is made up of 52 members. The President, elected for a 5-year term, holds the role of head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government.
The primary economic activities in Vanuatu are wood processing, meat canning, fishing, tourism, and shipping. Other important exports include timber, kava and cattle. The agriculture sector is particularly important, providing a living for 65% of the population. The currency is the Vanuatu Vatu.
Vanuatu is often considered one of the South Pacific’s premier scuba diving locations. Its abundance of coral reefs and shipwrecks makes it a popular destination for recreational divers. Other popular adventure activities include kayaking, caving, snorkelling, and off-roading. Its volcanoes are also a must-see, with nine active volcanoes located across its islands. For a more relaxed atmosphere, tourists can visit one of many famous massage spas, white sand beaches, or enjoy the culinary delights of French and Asian cuisine. Its diverse and rich culture can also be appreciated through visits to small villages and communities, as well as traditional dances and song.
WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2018-2022: Vanuatu
Access Vanuatu country profile (CHIPS 2015-2016)
Access UHC and SDG country profile
Health Service Delivery
Human resources for health
National immunization data – EPI summaries by country
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