In terms of health care, education and longevity, the situation in Kiribati is worse than in most other places in the Pacific. Poverty is widespread and child mortality is high.
The main toll of Tarawa is more developed than the other islands and many Kiribati are moving there in the hope of getting jobs and higher living standards. The result has been slum formation and competition for the scarce land that is gradually disappearing in the sea (see Natural Resources and Energy). In addition, there is a high risk of contamination of the scarce fresh water supplies, which can lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Kiribati, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The state offers free health care. However, the state of health of the overcrowded Tarawa Atoll has deteriorated due to underemployment and congestion. Tuberculosis has become a major health problem. Diarrhea, skin diseases and jaundice are also common.
Roughly one in three residents lack access to clean water. More than half of the Kiribati also lack a toilet. At Tarawa, many people therefore use the beach or swim in the water to fulfill their needs. This makes the fish at the beach dangerous to eat, and anyone who swims risks getting sick.
Alongside the state medical service, there is a traditional system of healers and women who assist in pregnancies and births.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 41 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 64.4 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 47.8 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 7.6 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 188 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 7 percent (2018)