Australia's support for health in the Pacific contributes to the security, stability and prosperity of the region – ensuring that women, men and children can lead healthy, productive lives. Australia works closely with regional and international organisations, and partner governments to support Pacific Island Countries to improve health outcomes.
Geographic isolation and small and dispersed populations make the provision of even basic goods and services logistically difficult and expensive. Smaller countries face huge challenges in responding to the full range of health needs given they only have capacity and resources to deliver a narrow range of services. Managing health's burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with continued threats from communicable diseases and maternal and child mortality remains a large challenge. Containing communicable disease outbreaks and other health security threats potentially worsened by climate change is in Australia's national interest.
Australia's regional health program complements bilateral health investments with a strong focus on supporting health activities that necessitate a regional or multi-country approach, such as workforce training, clinical services and cross-border disease threats. Key objectives include:
- strengthening regional health governance and policy, and
- strengthening the provision of regional health services and training that cannot be provided at a country level or where there are economies of scale for regional provision.
Pacific Regional Clinical Services and Workforce Improvement Program
Up to $7.5 million, 2016-mid 2021
This investment, implemented through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), supports visiting medical teams to deliver much-needed specialist care across the Pacific. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons coordinates with other Australian medical colleges to deliver this essential service. As increasing numbers of Pacific clinicians graduate and return home, local capacity to deliver services is being built. In these countries RACS has a greater focus on supporting local staff through mentoring and professional development. RACS also works with senior clinicians to improve systems of clinical quality assurance, deliver short courses in specialist areas and contribute to formal courses at the Fiji National University. RACS is working closely with the Pacific Community and Fiji National University to support their agendas of improving the governance of clinical services in the region and postgraduate training for the Pacific health workforce.
In 2017 RACS mobilised 30 visiting medical teams to 10 Pacific Islands Countries, performing over 1,848 consultations and 465 operations, whilst supporting the continued mentoring and professional development of health professionals.
Support for the Pacific Community’s Public Health Division Strategic Plan
Up to $9 million, January 2018- December 2020
This investment provides funding to the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community (SPC) for the provision of technical advice and support to Pacific countries on: regional collaboration on clinical services; disease surveillance and response; non-communicable disease prevention and control; and strengthening regional health governance and policy through the facilitation of key regional meetings.
Partnerships for Health and Rights: Working for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) – International Planned Parenthood Federation
$4.5 million, 2015-2018
This investments provides $4.5 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) to unite partnerships with governments, faith-based organisations and civil society organisations to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services in eight Pacific countries.
UN Joint program for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health
Up to $9 million, 2015-2019
This investment supports the Governments of Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to sustainably improve health outcomes for women and children through better policies, and stronger systems for planning, budgeting and monitoring. This is the first UN joint program for health in the Pacific, implemented by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and World Health Organization (WHO).
World Health Organization
$0.5 million, 2017-2018
This investment facilitates the development of the five-year Pacific Health Security Coordination Plan (2017-18 to 2021-2022) which was endorsed by Pacific Health Ministers in August 2017.
World Bank’s Pacific Facility 4 Trust Fund – Pacific Health Analytical and Advisory Services
Up to $5 million, 2018-2022
This investment strengthens public financial management in the health sector in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tonga and Samoa. The World Bank supports Ministries of Health and Finance to contain rising health costs and ensure health services are delivered as cost-efficiently as possible.