Situation in Brief

With a small population and shortage of doctors, Tonga relies on ophthalmic nurses and mid-level personnel to provide the majority of services. The country has a strong diabetic eye disease program. Cataract patients wait for visiting teams, who are often supported by NGOs. Ophthalmic nurses run eye clinics on Tongatapu and Vava’u. A medical assistant, trained at Pacific Eye Institute in diagnosis and laser treatment of diabetic retinopathy, runs the diabetic eye program. WHO has noted Tonga’s steep increase in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to be a worry and the most important health problem for Tonga. Specialist nurses provide services from the diabetic clinic on Tongatapu. Trained medical assistants provide laser treatment and intravitreal medical therapy for diabetic retinopathy. A national plan for eye health has reportedly been endorsed.

 

Country Statistics

Indicator Value
Population: 105,000
Human development index value: 0.705
National Prevention of Blindness Committee active: No
National Eye Health Plan Developed: No
Cataract surgical rate: 2039
Number of ophthalmologists: 1
Blindness prevalence: 0.56%
Main causes of blindness: Cataract, diabetic retinopathy
Total expenditure on health as percentage of total government expenditure: 12.6
Diabetes prevalence: 13.1%
Improved drinking water coverage: 99%
Improved sanitation coverage: 91%
Endemic areas for trachoma: Unknown