An annual event to showcase local health research

About The Symposium


The Vanuatu Health Research Symposium is a forum to highlight health research conducted across Vanuatu by the Ministry of Health and partners, including hospitals and provincial health offices.

It aligns with work towards NSDP Society Goal 3 (a healthy population that enjoys a high quality of physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being) and Society Policy Objective 6.9 (strengthen research, data and statistics for accountability and decision making). It also supports the development of evidence-based policies and plans, as emphasized in the Health Sector Strategy (2021-2030).

The first Symposium was held in 2019 and the second was held in September 2021. The third Symposium is tentatively scheduled for later in 2022. There are plans for this to be an annual event.

A Vanuatu Health Research Network has been established.

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2022 Symposium

There are plans to hold the third Symposium in either Quarter 3 or Quarter 4 of 2022. The theme, dates, venue and program for the 2022 Symposium will be communicated in due course.

2021 Symposium

The theme of the 2021 Health Research Symposium was Research to Impact. It was held at Holiday Inn in Port Vila from 23 to 24 September 2021.

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The 2021 Health Research Symposium included plenary addresses, oral presentations and poster sessions on clinical and public health and nursing.

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There were 32 oral presentations and 11 posters presentations issued at the 2021 Symposium. Abstracts, presentations and posters are available below.

Opening Turnbull, Mark The doctor-patient relationship: exactly how influencial are doctors in the lives of their patients. NA NA
Opening Natuman, Sereana Evidence to impact NA View
Opening Williams, Wendy Vanuatu Health Research Ethics Committee (VHREC) process NA View
Opening Ko, Eunyoung Partnership for health research in Vanuatu View View
Emergency Medicine Toloka, Hillary Patients' satisfaction of the care provided at the Emergency Department and Outpatient Department at Vila Central Hospital, Vanuatu. View View
Emergency Medicine Kauh, Vega Electronic data registry to help inform the Emergency Department on key performance indicators View View
Emergency Medicine Fred, Debbie Improving reporting rates of hospitalized pneumonia cases in Vanuatu: An evaluation study View View
Emergency Medicine Kalsakau, Ryan Brian Clinical audit of nebulizer use at NPH ED View View
Emergency Medicine Hinge, Lawrence Effectiveness of community mental health home visit in reducing inpatient admission of mentally ill patients: a look at Vila Central Hospital?s experience from 2012 to 2021 View View
Health Systems Leodoro, Basil Deploying telemedicine in capacity constrained contexts: lessons from the Vanuatu Inter-island Telemedicine and Learning Project View View
Health Systems Sitobata, Mackenzie Work challenges and opportunites faced by medica intern doctors in Vanuatu: A qualitative study View View
Health Systems Vile, Sharin Comparative analysis of provincial Health Emergency Structures throughout Vanuatu. View View
Health Systems Fred, Sael Prevalence and impacts of disability on Primary Health Care service delivery, management and utilisation in Vanuatu View View
Health Systems Cornish, Matthew J. Malnutrition in remote Vanuatu: cyclone response survey View View
COVID-19 Binihi, Melissa Understanding key COVID-19 health messages and review how and from who communities are receiving and accessing information about COVID-19. View View
COVID-19 Kalulu, Aleesha COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance in Vanuatu in the first three months of implementation, 2021 View View
COVID-19 Pheu, Alexandre COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in health care workers at Vila Central Hospital View View
Maternal and Child Health Natuman, Sereana Hepatitis B the Vanuatu Story View View
Maternal and Child Health Garae, Annette The outcome of low birthweight babies at VCH and NPH (May 2019 - August 2020) View View
Maternal and Child Health Lehi, Margaret A retrospective study of diabetes in pregnacy at Vila Central Hospital, Vanuatu from January 1st 2014 to December 31st 2018 View View
Maternal and Child Health Noah, Leiwaku First 1000 days End line survey results View View
Non-Communicable Diseases Lango, Thompson 10 Years of amputations In Santo: should the first cut be the deepest? View View
Non-Communicable Diseases Kepoue, Andrew Expanding NCD services to remote population of Vanuatu through mass screening and referral View View
Non-Communicable Diseases Natuman, Walesi Valeria A critical evaluation of rheumatic heart disease registration process after school screening program: a retrospective study of class 6 Students In Central Division of Fiji. View NA
Non-Communicable Diseases Toa, Florita Survival rate of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) patients undergoing laser treatment at Pacific Eye Institute, Suva, Fiji, from 2012 to 2017 View View
Infectious Diseases Mariasua, Joanne Review of outbreak thresholds of infectious diseases from the Syndromic Surveillance Database in Vanuatu from 2018-2021 View View
Infectious Diseases Tagavi, Lekon Deployment of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in Port Vila to reduce dengue View View
Infectious Diseases Donald, Wesley Vanuatu roadmap to malaria elimination in the Pacific Region View View
Infectious Diseases Elliott, Lana Access to and use of mosquito bed nets for malaria prevention in Vanuatu View View
Wrap up van Gemert, Caroline Taking the next steps to publication NA View
Wrap up Guyant, Philippe Development of a prioritised health research agenda for Vanuatu: work in progress NA View
Wrap up Cornish, Matthew J. Summary of Symposium outcomes and recommendations NA View
Emergency Medicine Atua, Vincent Admission trends from Port Vila Central Hospital Emergency Department for 2020: a retrospective data analysis View View
Maternal and Child Health Deed, Emily Vanuatu Health Facility Assessment: sexual and gender based violence services View View
Maternal and Child Health Deed, Emily Health facility readiness and service availability assessment for sexual and reproductive health in Vanuatu View View
COVID-19 Garae, Crystal Postmortem detection of SARS-CoV-2 after exposure to seawater View View
General Ko, Eunyoung Designing policies that work NA View
Maternal and Child Health Leodoro, Basil Intimate partner violence and health outcomes experienced by women who are pregnant: a cross-sectional survey in Sanma Province, Vanuatu View View
Infectious Diseases Taleo, Fasihah 2019 Integrated NTD MDA with NCD Screening on Tanna and Efate island View View
Infectious Diseases Van Gemert, Caroline Triple elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B in the Pacific Islands View View
Infectious Diseases Williams, Wendy Comparison of strategies for daily surveillance for symptom development among international travellers entering Vanuatu requiring quarantine, Oct to Dec 2020 View View
Infectious Diseases Iavro, Edna Prevalence of scabies in Sanma Province, Malampa NA View
Emergency Medicine Clark, Danielle Vanuatu Advanced Life Support course NA View

Key Recommendations

Key recommendations from the Symposium included:

  • It is recommended that the Vanuatu Health Research Symposium is held on an annual basis
  • It is recommended that the Vanuatu Health Research Symposium is adopted as a key Ministry of Health activity and that the coordination and implementation is led by the Ministry of Health and that conference organisation and administrative support is obtained
  • It is recommended that research skills and capacity building is strengthened and integrated with conference planning in future years
  • It is recommended that future Vanuatu Health Research Symposiums continue to include both national and provincial representation from across the Ministry of Health including medical, nursing, allied health and public health areas
Download 2021 Symposium Report

Award Winners

Ten presenters were selected for awards at the 2021 Symposium:

  • Best presentation with a provincial focus: Hillary Toloka
  • Best presentation with a national focus: Sael Fred
  • Best presentation from an early career researcher: Aleesha Kalulu
  • Best presentation from a senior researcher: Dr Sereana Natuman
  • Best nurse-led presentation: Lawrence Hinge
  • Best clinical presentation: Dr Margaret Lehi
  • Best public health presentation: Lekon Tagavi
  • Best poster presentation: Dr Crystal Garae
  • Best overall presentation: Dr Annette Garae
  • Judges choice: Joanne Mariasua

Awards were sponsored by:

  • Donations from Symposium attendees
  • Bank of the South Pacific
  • Dr Caroline van Gemert
  • Save the Children Vanuatu
  • Vanuatu Red Cross Society
  • Vanuatu Medical and Dental Association
  • The Medical Centre
  • Vanuatu Nursing Association

Organizing Committee

The Committee was chaired by Dr Vincent Atua (Vila Central Hospital) and included Dr Lawrence Boe (Vanuatu Medical and Dental Association), Dr Matthew Cornish (private physician), Dr Tessa Knox (WHO Vanuatu Country Liaison Office), Yohann Lemonnier (Vanuatu Health Program) and Dr Caroline van Gemert (Vanuatu Health Program).


Financial and technical support for the Symposium was provided by:

  • Vanuatu Ministry of Health
  • Vanuatu Medical and Dental Association
  • Australian Aid
  • New Zealand Aid Programme
  • Pasifika Medical Association Group
  • Vanuatu Health Program
  • World Health Organization


Workshops were conducted in advance of the 2021 Health Research Symposium, with technical assistance provided for the development of abstracts, presentations and posters. Guidance was also produced to support presenters.

Download Tips for Presenting Results Download Tips for Posters