Situation in Brief

In Vanuatu, eye care is mainly carried out by ophthalmic nurses. Eye health is a low priority for the Government and there is a lack of leadership in public health. Visiting teams have travelled to Vanuatu as part of the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness project, an initiative of local church groups and Uniting World Australia. The Pacific Eye Institute also coordinates outreach visits. According to the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, priority has been given in the Vanuatu national eye health plan to extend community education and primary eye care services throughout the country, including increasing eye surgery services to another two hospitals and setting up eye nurse-led facilities in each region. This plan is still in draft, waiting endorsement. There are shortages in health personnel across the country. Vanuatu is believed to have endemic areas for trachoma, and a National Trachoma Coordinator will be appointed to plan necessary surveys. Vanuatu will be included in work to eliminate trachoma in the Pacific, funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

Country Statistics

Indicator Value
Population: 247,000
Human development index value: 0.616
National Prevention of Blindness Committee active: No
National Eye Health Plan Developed: Yes
Cataract surgical rate: 1,539 (2009 estimate)
Number of ophthalmologists: 1
Blindness prevalence: 0.8% (2009 estimate)
Main causes of blindness: Cataract, trauma, diabetic retinopathy
Total expenditure on health as percentage of total government expenditure: 14
Diabetes prevalence: 21%
Improved drinking water coverage: 91%
Improved sanitation coverage: 58%
Endemic areas for trachoma: To be surveyed