For this volcanic, pacific nation daily life still revolves around making a living from subsistence or small-scale agriculture.

Almost three-quarters of Vanuatu’s population of just almost 240,000 people live in the rural areas, although urban migration to Port Vila and Luganville is increasing at a high rate.

Major health challenges still facing the country according to the World Health Organization include:

  • Malaria remains the major public health problem in the country.
  • Other communicable disease concerns include tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, acute respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, viral hepatitis, typhoid fever and measles.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have always been suspected of being highly prevalent.
  • More than 120 new cases of tuberculosis (TB) occur each year.
  • Dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever and filariasis are also very significant communicable diseases.
  • It’s a low HIV prevalence country, with only three confirmed HIV cases since its first reported case in 2002.

Burnet’s work

Researchers coordinated a study to estimate the number of men who have sex with men and female sex workers, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

There is no empirical evidence on HIV and STI epidemiology and vulnerability in most Pacific Island countries and territories, including Vanuatu.

Contact Details

For more information about our work in Vanuatu, please contact:

Professor Margaret Hellard AM

Deputy Director, Programs; Adjunct Professor, Monash University, DEPM.




Current Projects

  • Antenatal and postnatal care remote contacts guidance

  • Gender Counts

  • Rapid review of maternal health recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Sexual and reproductive health in Asia and the Pacific

  • Transformative Agenda for Women, Adolescents and Youth in the Pacific: Family Life Education

Past Projects

  • Addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific