Country Information

Kiribati has a population of 114,000 (WHO,2016), scattered over an area larger than Australia. Life expectancy at birth is 69 years for females and 64 years for males (WHO,2016), and the infant mortality rate is 52 per 1000 live births (WHO,2017). Along with the communicable disease challenges common to developing countries, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is rising. There have been significant increases in mortality and morbidity associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and heart disease. A recent national survey on disabilities found 3840 people with 4358 disabilities. Physical disabilities accounted for 32% of all disabilities.

Program History

Interplast has been delivering programs to Kiribati since 1986, initially these were full plastic and reconstructive surgical visits, to the Tungaru Central Hospital on an annual basis, as Kiribati has no local access to plastic and reconstructive services.

In more recent years surgical programs have been delivered every two years, due to funding limitations, however annual visits would be ideal (as over 100 patients presented to the team in 2014, and not all were able to be treated due to lack of time).

Following an identification from visiting Interplast teams, and local doctors that local nursing provision could improve, Interplast developed a nurse education program which commenced in late 2014, and 4 modules have since been delivered successfully.

With such a small population, and ongoing health resource challenges such as the emigration of medical staff, there is little likelihood of Kiribati ever obtaining self-sufficiency in the delivery of plastic and reconstructive surgery services. The provision of training in basic reconstructive surgery procedures for local surgeons and trainees is a priority for Interplast programs, however, sustainability in providing more complex treatment is more likely to materialise at a regional level. Ideally, in the future, a surgeon from the Pacific region trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery will be able to visit Kiribati to provide services.

Current Program

In the 2019/2020 financial year, Interplast will deliver a number of activities in Kiribati, including a plastic and reconstructive surgical program, as well as nurse education activities.

For more details, keep an eye on our Upcoming Programs, or get in touch with us!