TARAWA, 08 MARCH 2017 (RADIO KIRIBATI) — 18 I-Kiribati medical students who studied in Cuba graduated at the end of February after completing an 18-month internship programe with the Kiribati Ministry of Health & Medical Services (MHMS).

These 18 doctors will increase the number of practicing doctors in Kiribati and provide a platform for MHMS to provide specialised clinical and public health services in the near future as these doctors further develop their skills.


This is the first time a medical internship programme has been implemented in Kiribati after all internship placements in Fiji were filled.

Kiribati’s efforts to reintegrate its returning medical graduates who studied in Cuban medical schools was realised through funding made available from the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

The AUD$1.5 million (US$.1 million) fund provided by Australia has facilitated technical assistance and capacity development to the MHMS for the two-year establishment phase of the KITP programme, which includes quality assurance and assistance with assessment of interns and supervisors performance. The technical assistance and capacity development provided not only was beneficial to the Interns but also benefited the current practicing doctors and nurses.

The Kiribati Internship Training Programme (KITP) is implemented by MHMS in collaboration with the Fiji National University (FNU) and has extended its scope to support other Pacific countries including Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.  The KITP is the first Internship programme in the region to be formally endorsed by the Postgraduate Committee of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, FNU.

Since the programme’s inception, a total of 42 interns have been absorbed and were divided into three cohorts, with 18 interns from the first cohort who graduated last week. The remaining two cohorts consists of a mix of I-Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Island and Tuvalu nationals – with a fourth cohort anticipated to start by mid-2017. The programme is now funded by New Zealand…. PACNEWS [/restrict]