Health and poverty are closely interrelated in Kiribati. While health care is free, access is limited, especially on the outer islands. Westernisation of the average Kiribati diet has increased incidences of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, gout, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancers. These diseases are now prevalent in Kiribati.
Diseases relating to poor water quality, sanitation and hygiene are at an all-time high, with more than 35,000 cases annually reported, including diarrhoea, dysentery, conjunctivitis, rotavirus, giardia and fungal infections such as ringworm. Among all this, alcohol and substance abuse is on the rise, signalling a nation-wide urgency for improved access to physical and mental health care and education.
How We’re Helping
Young people in Kiribati can only develop and contribute to the nation’s development if they are in good health; mentally and physically well and safe. That’s why Palms Australia has developed a strong relationship with the Diocese of Tarawa and Nauru to place experienced volunteer nurses in various Catholic Secondary Schools in Kiribati.
Volunteer Sue Bartlett, a nurse with over 30 years of experience, is helping improve the health of Kiribati’s young people by addressing the immediate medical needs of students presenting with illness. In addition, Sue will provide preventative health education to increase awareness around nutritional eating, hygiene issues and health risk factors across the Catholic Secondary Schools.
Being based on one of the outer islands will enable Sue to better understand and respond to the health issues affecting rural communities and link in with existing limited health services on the outer islands, which are generally challenged.
Is the Project Sustainable?
The sharing of health knowledge and skills with students, teachers and the broader community will add to the sustainability of youth health in Kiribati.
The amount raised includes the volunteer’s living and accommodation expenses, which have kindly been covered by the host community.