Where we work


Kiribati is one of the most physically remote and dispersed countries in the world, making it very difficult for just one fully trained ophthalmologist supported by a trainee eye doctor to reach everyone in need.

What are the eye health problems?

There is currently no resident ophthalmologist in Kiribati, so they must rely on regional outreaches where eye surgeons travel to Kiribati to treat cases requiring surgery. With an estimated 22.1 per cent of the population suffering from diabetes, Kiribati has a large number of people in need of regular screening for signs of diabetes eye disease. Many require urgent treatment, but the health system is simply not set up to meet the need.

Our work in Kiribati

In 2017 we upgraded the eye clinic, and we’re continuing to support Dr Erena Kum-kei as a trainee eye doctor, with regular visits from consulting ophthalmologists and we are supporting clinical attachments for Kiribati eye health staff to further their skills and knowledge at the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji.

We're also helping to raise awareness within the health sector about diabetes and the impact it can have on eye health. We support the training of health nurses to recognise and refer diabetic patients to the eye clinic, which helps the eye care clinicians reach people in remote villages.

The team get together to discuss the programme for the day, which will involve consultations, surgeries and follow-ups.
A patient is assessed on outreach

Progress in sight

  • Since 2016, the eye care team is raising awareness on diabetes eye disease by training primary health carers who then refer diabetes patients to the eye clinic for regular screening.
  • In 2019, a locally led research initiative to understand the patient perspectives of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy was conducted.
  • 1 Foundation-supported eye doctor (1 Foundation-sponsored graduate)
  • 1 Foundation-sponsored trainee eye doctor
  • 12 active Foundation-supported eye nurses and eye care clinicians (all Foundation-sponsored graduates)
  • 15 Foundation-sponsored eye nurse and eye care clinician graduates

Where we work

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