30 Nov 2005

Nauru health minister says health services are inadequate

11:46 am on 30 November 2005

One of the architects of economic reform in Nauru, Health Minister Dr Kieren Keke, says he hopes today's Round table meeting will lead to a new approach to health care in the country.

Dr Keke says Nauru has shocking health statistics with life expectancy for men now 49.

He says this is the impact of lifestyle diseases which in large part have gone untreated because the island does not have adequate health facilities.

Dr Keke says in the past, when Nauru was one of the richest nations in the world, it sent many of its ill people to Australia for treatment, but that avenue has been closed for some years.

"Nauru's hospital and health services really became a triage point' for people to be sent overseas. So we are left with a population with a great burden of disease that has been well documented for thirty years. But no programmes, no interventions have been put in place at all to address the diabetes and other diseases that we have."