Fiji has the largest population of all the South Pacific island countries, with an estimated 2010 population of 854 000. Only one-third of Fiji’s 332 islands are populated, with the majority living on Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. Fijians are living longer due to improved health care, with life expectancy standing at 68 years for males and 72 years for females.

Health challenges

Major health challenges still facing the country according to the World Health Organization and outlined in Fiji’s Ministry of Health Strategic Plan 2007-2011 include:

  • Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory diseases and cancers have now replaced infectious and parasitic diseases as the principal cause of mortality and morbidity.
  • The increasing number of HIV and AIDS cases is a national challenge. In September 2006 there were 229 cases, with many contracting the infection in their teens.
  • The threat of emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases in the world and the region is becoming more serious.
  • The threat of dengue virus infection and outbreaks continue

Burnet’s work

Our work revolves around providing technical assistance or is project-based.

STIs: A new – has been developed by the Burnet Institute and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to promote the use of the STI Toolkit. The STI Toolkit is a framework for introducing point-of-care (POC) tests in Pacific Island countries and territories.

Resources for improving national responses to HIV and STIs: The resources aim to build country leadership of more effective responses to the HIV and STI epidemics. They describe how to bring together government leaders, community leaders and health experts to develop more effective prevention, treatment and care strategies. They were prepared by Burnet Institute, based on lessons learned over four years of supporting leadership in Pacific Island Countries, from 2009 to 2012.

HIV laboratory strengthening: Burnet’s Clinical Research Laboratory (CRL) headed by Professor Suzanne Crowe AM, has 17 years of experience providing a service for laboratory monitoring of HIV infection in Australia and providing assistance and training to strengthen laboratories in resource constrained countries particularly in the Asia Pacific region.

As the WHO Regional HIV Drug Resistance Laboratory for the Asia Pacific Region they have expertise in providing training in laboratory set-up, laboratory safety, management, quality systems, staff mentoring and transferring the technology for performing tests to monitor HIV infection.

Contact Details

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

Burnet Institute




Current Projects

  • Australia Awards Fellowship: KICK-AMR to Address Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Engaging private sector for adolescent health service delivery in Asia and Pacific

  • Gender Counts

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

  • Sexual and reproductive health in Asia and the Pacific