Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation and is located in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. The island lies northeast of Australia, 42 kilometers south of the equator, and is surrounded by a belt of coral reefs and dotted phosphate pinnacles. The country’s inhabitants live on a landmass of approximately 21 km2 (8.1 sq mi), and according to estimates from the United Nations, the current population of Nauru stands at 10,785.
The official name of the country is the Republic of Nauru and was previously known as Pleasant Island. Nauru has no official capital, but government offices are based in the district of Yaren.
The country enjoys a temperate climate with temperatures ranging between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. Hot and very humid conditions dominate the small country throughout the year. Nauru’s water resources are limited owing to its unpredictable seasons and represent a major challenge for the nation. The vast majority of the water supply comes from domestic rainwater harvesting, groundwater, and also desalinated seawater. Nauru is affected by the westerly monsoon resulting in a wet season between November and February, which helps to replenish the island’s freshwater supplies.
This short guide below offers a practical summary of healthcare and insurance in Nauru, as well as options from health insurance companies, such as medication evacuation, for expatriates and travelers planning on residing there. Read on to learn more, or click the button below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Nauru’s healthcare system
The Government of Nauru provides extensive healthcare services to all citizens. Primary healthcare and public health services are managed by the Division of Public Health at the Naeoro Public Health Centre, and curative services are provided by the Republic of Nauru Hospital. Services include medical, surgical and dental specialties, alongside hemodialysis, laboratory, radiological, physiotherapy, and pharmaceutical services.
Recently, Nauru’s Department of Health undertook a major internal review with a vision to developing systems aimed at improving health care standards for all citizens and residents on the island. The government aims to put particular emphasis on recruiting trained medical personnel, developing medical infrastructure, sourcing reliable medical supplies, and introducing healthcare administration services.
Getting medical treatment in Nauru
In 1999 Nauru’s two hospitals, the government-run Nauru General Hospital and the private Nauru Phosphate Corporation Hospital, merged into the state-run Republic of Nauru Hospital (RONH), which provides free medical and dental treatment for all citizens and residents.
RONH is located in Yaren district and provides basic medical care. The Naoero Public Health Centre provides specialized treatment for diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.
Both the Nauru Phosphate Corporation Hospital and the Nauru General Hospital are capable of providing routine day to day medical care; however, the infrastructure and care provided by both hospitals are far below international standards.
Anyone with serious illnesses and injuries that cannot be treated on the island must be sent by air to Australia. Medical facilities are inadequate to support serious incidents, and emergency evacuation may be necessary for situations requiring serious medical attention. It is recommended that all travelers to the country purchase a health insurance plan which includes emergency evacuation coverage in Nauru.
Common communicable and noncommunicable diseases
Nauru, like many other Pacific islands, faces a number of public health burden of communicable diseases and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy programs continue to report new cases, although improvements have been made in the last few years.
In addition, outbreaks of diarrhoeal illness or typhoid fever still occur and can be linked to the poor supply of water on the island. However, improvements have been made in the last decade to increase freshwater supply and access to those living on the island.
NCDs are the main cause of premature mortality and morbidity, contributing to a shorter life expectancy compared to other Pacific Island countries.
The four key risk factors are:
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of physical activity
All the above 4 risk factors contribute to high rates of obesity, diabetes and raised blood pressure.
The following vaccinations are recommended for travelers going to Naura:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
As with all advice given, it is imperative to receive medical advice from your local doctor or nurse specialist for vaccinations before traveling.
Health insurance in Nauru
Being that Nauru is an isolated island with a healthcare system yet to match those seen in developed countries, it pays to seek the assurance of what an international medical insurance policy has to offer.
All expatriates, travelers, and loved ones traveling to Nauru are highly advised to secure an international medical insurance policy that provides an emergency evacuation benefit. The costs associated with repatriation and evacuation from the country can be considerable. The nearest developed country is Australia and getting there will require air transportation to the nearest hospital that offers state-of-the facilities to deal with medical emergencies.
For more information about Nauru health insurance and locally compliant international health insurance plans that we can offer there, or to receive a free quote, please contact one of our expert advisers today.