Facts and Data about Health in the Pacific

Good health is a prerequisite to development - healthy people help communities grow and economies prosper. Here are 12 facts about the state of health in Pacific Island countries and why they are major concerns for ADB.

  1. Pacific Island Countries still face great challenges in meeting the 'health' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
    Source: The Millenium Development Goals in Pacific Island Countries
  1. The MDGs concerning the reduction of child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases will be the most challenging to meet.
    Source: The Millenium Development Goals in Pacific Island Countries
 
  1. The incidence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and other cardiovascular illnesses among Pacific nations is the highest in the world and accounts for 75% of all deaths in the region.
    Source: The Millenium Development Goals in Pacific Island Countries
 
  1. In Palau, for example, while the government advocates a healthy lifestyle, rates of obesity are high, as are rates of consumption of alcohol and tobacco, the latter being related to the widespread chewing of betel nut.
    Source: ADB Sustainable Health Care Financing in the Republic of Palau
 
  1. Non-communicable disease treatment now accounts for up to 60% of total health care expenditure across the Pacific archipelago.
    Source: Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
  1. Pacific Island governments spend a relatively high share of their GDP on health– in Nauru, 25% of total government spending goes towards health compared to 4.2% in Viet Nam.
    Source: ADB Sustainable Health Care Financing in the Republic of Palau
 
  1. The populations of most Pacific Islands countries are too small to support a full range of modern health care services - increasing numbers of residents leave the country for advanced treatment.
    Source: ADB Sustainable Health Care Financing in the Republic of Palau
 
  1. Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have the highest rate of malaria in the region.
    Source: ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2011
  1. A regional plan of action is being developed to address nutritional challenges - in general, poor urban households rely on imported or shop-purchased items for up to 75% of their diet.
    Source: The Millenium Development Goals in Pacific Island Countries
 
  1. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the HIV prevalence rate in the Pacific is rising, although little data exists on HIV among 15–24 year olds.
    Source: The Millenium Development Goals in Pacific Island Countries
 
  1. Papua New Guinea accounts for 90% of HIV/AIDS cases in the Pacific.
    Source: ADB news "ADB and partners help PNG Boost Rural Health Services"
  1. To help rural health services in Papua New Guinea, ADB and partners are supporting a $81.2 million project, which will particularly benefit pregnant mothers and children PNG has an excessively high rate of maternal death.
    Source: ADB news "ADB and partners help PNG Boost Rural Health Services"