Where we work

Kiribati

Kiribati is a collection of islands located near the equator and is one of the most physically remote and dispersed countries in the world — making it difficult for the one eye doctor to see all those in need.

What are the eye health problems?

The country’s only eye doctor graduated from the Pacific Eye Institute in December 2014 and now leads eye care service delivery for the entire country.

With an estimated 28.1 percent of the population suffering from diabetes, Kiribati has a large number of people who need to be screened regularly for signs of diabetic retinopathy and consequently requiring urgent treatment. The Kiribati health system has limited resources to meet this need.

Our work in Kiribati

With a trained and highly capable national eye care workforce, the local health authorities are very enthusiastic about increasing eye care services for the country. However, the eye care team face a number of challenges as the eye clinic infrastructure is unsuitable to cater for increased levels of eye care service, due to its small size and poor condition.

We continue to work with the Kiribati eye care team and other stakeholders to address these challenges, and recognition by the national Ministry of Health has meant the eye team have been granted a larger clinic for eye care services.

In 2017, we upgraded the eye clinic so that the eye care team can work in a suitable space and we continued to support Dr Rabebe in her role as Head of Department for Ophthalmology through our workforce support programme.

We're also working towards increasing awareness within the health sector of diabetes and its effects on the eye. This involves training health nurses to recognise and refer diabetic patients to an eye clinic. This is also important in reaching patients in remote villages who have limited access to eye care services.

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

  • We continue to support the clinic by ensuring it has up-to-date equipment, medicines and supplies.
  • The eye care team has been active in raising awareness of diabetic eye disease by training primary health carers throughout Kiribati. This means that more patients are referred to the eye clinic, where an average of 100 diabetic patients are screened for signs of diabetic eye disease monthly.
  • A second doctor from Kiribati has begun her studies in ophthalmology at the Pacific Eye Institute. When she graduates and returns home, we will have met our training targets for both eye doctors and nurses in Kiribati.

Where we work

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