Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH)
PMH in Funafuti, the Capital of Fongafale atoll in Tuvalu is the only hospital in the country and the primary provider of medical services for all the islands of Tuvalu.
Princess Margaret Hospital
Tel.: (688) 20 480
Fax: (688) 20 832
P.O. Box 41, Funafuti, Tuvalu
There are two medical clinics on Fongafale, one at the south end and one at the north end of the island, each staffed by one registered nurse. One medical officer and the NCD nurse from the Public Health Department conduct weekly NCD clinics at each of these clinics.
The health of people in the outer islands is managed by small medical clinics run by two to three nurses, except for Niulakita where there is one registered nurse. Niulakita is the southernmost island of Tuvalu with a population of 27 (2012 census). The residents of Niulakita have moved to the island from Niutao. The Ministry of Health also organises integrated medical outreach teams from Princess Margaret and the Dept of Public Health to visit each island twice a year.
Key Ministry of Health Contacts
Mr Faivatala Karlos Lee Moresi is the CEO for the Ministry of Health.
Address: MOH headquarters, Government Building, Vaiaku, Funafuti
Telephone: (+688) 20416
Mrs. Filoiala Sakaio is the Acting Director of Health and the Chief Nursing Officer for the Ministry of Health in Tuvalu
Telephone @Princess Margaret Hospital (+688) 20765
Clare Whelan is the Health Planning and Management Adviser (PACTAM 2) to the Ministry of Health
Dr Baranika Toromon is currently contracted (until 2020) from Kiribati as the specialist Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.
Princess Margaret Hospital currently relies on surgical and anaesthetic locum medical specialists to provide specialist medical care as it is difficult to attract experienced specialist doctors to stay long-term in Tuvalu
Funafuti International Airport is the only airport in Tuvalu. Fiji Airways (trading as Fiji Link) operates between Suva, Fiji and Funafuti, which takes two and half hours on a forty-four-seater plane.
Depending on the time of the year, Fiji Airways operate two or three flights a week to Funafuti)
Fiji Airways offer flights to Tuvalu via Nadi and Suva, usually with a 12-14-hour stopover in Nadi. A return flight from Sydney is not cheap and will cost about $2,200.
Kiribati Air also provides a once weekly (Wednesday) flight between Tarawa and Funafuti.
Government of Tuvalu ships provide the only transport available to the outer islands which operate on average once per month. Travel times range from approximately 6 hrs to the Central group of Islands to approximately 24hrs to the Northern group of Islands. A Cargo ship from Fiji sails to Funafuti every few months.
Accommodation options in Funafuti are limited but there are a number of bed and breakfast lodges close to Princess Margaret Hospital, including Afelita Lodge and L’s Lodge. L’s lodge is the preferred choice of accommodation for many of the specialists/technical support personnel that visit Funafuti to support the Ministry of Health in Tuvalu. It is wise to book accommodation well in advance as many of them operate near to full capacity from February to November.
A bit further is Warmasiri Lodge, Vailuatai Lodge and Esfam Lodge and the three-star hotel Funafuti Lagoon Hotel (previously known as the Vaiaku Lago hotel). The Funafuti Lagoon Hotel is situated in the centre of Funafuti town, about 50 meters from the airport and is set on the lagoon side of the island. It is a very basic three-star hotel. (See photo below).
Funafuti Lagoon Hotel guests no longer have incredible views of the lagoon (to witness some spectacular sunsets), as the reclaimed beach/Princess Margaret Park is now the site of new VIP housing. A Conference Centre is also currently being built on that stretch of beach, in preparation for the Pacific Island Leader’s Summit in August 2019.
It is 5 minutes’ walk from the airport and 20 minutes’ walk from Princess Margaret Hospital.
Funafuti Lagoon Hotel
P.O. Box 10
Phone: (688) 20500
Supermarkets and Restaurants
There are a few supermarkets in Funafuti that sell a range of basic food items and household goods. The staple food of Tuvaluans is white imported rice. With such a lack of space the country does not have the ability to grow many vegetables or fruit above negligible amounts.
For fresh produce, cabbage, salad and some other vegetables and fruit are available at the “Taiwan Garden” farm on the other side of the airstrip (next to the prison). This is usually open on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
However, limited access to ‘healthy’ foods and the sedentary lifestyle typical of most pacific islanders contributes to obesity, one of the many risks associated with non-communicable diseases (including hypertension and type 2 diabetes), which is a burden in Tuvalu.
The Lagoon Hotel and Filamona Hotel operate restaurants. There are also a couple of Chinese restaurants in Funafuti, both close to the hospital.
Credit card services are not available anywhere in Tuvalu and there are no ATMs so bring sufficient Australian dollars, which is Tuvalu’s local currency.
The National Bank of Tuvalu on Funafuti is the country’s only bank and it can change the major currencies (USD, Euro etc.) for AUD (local currency, with Tuvalu coins).
Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) on Funafuti atoll in Tuvalu is the only hospital in the country, and the primary provider of medical services for all the islands of Tuvalu.
The health of people in the outer islands is managed by small medical clinics run by one or, if they are lucky, two nurses.
The staple food of the native people is white imported rice. With such a lack of space the country does not have the ability to grow vegetables or fruit above negligible amounts. If you marry this limited access to ‘healthy’ foods to the sedentary lifestyle of pacific islanders you can only imagine the size of people in the country! With this in mind, it is no surprise that the national burden of non-communicable diseases including hypertension and type 2 diabetes is enormous.