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Vanuatu: Driving System Reform for Improved Health Outcomes

Vanuatu Australia Health Partnership (VAHP)


Funded by the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the VAHP is designed to support Government of Vanuatu led efforts to drive reform of the health system in Vanuatu for improved health outcomes and health security at national and provincial levels. This reform includes generating service delivery improvements in selected provinces, better medical workforce development, and improved corporate leadership and planning. These efforts are challenged by several factors including:

  • The health sector in Vanuatu and more broadly—is fundamentally political and linked to deeply entrenched power structures, bureaucratic norms, and local political dynamics.
  • Disconnection between provincial health plans and budgets, caused by poor communication between provincial and national levels of government.
  • Underdeveloped workforce planning capacity and difficulties in identifying and maintaining key personnel.
  • Balancing short-term health priorities with longer term health objectives.


VAHP takes an adaptive approach and supports capability development within the Vanuatu Ministry of Health by applying key principles, which include Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA). The PDIA approach aims to navigate and unblock the political challenges impeding reform and to try, learn, iterate, adapt, and scale by identifying key entry points to help address priority problems in the health sector. VAHP’s workplan drives momentum to improve leadership practices in the health sector, accountability, and service delivery through three interrelated ‘pathways’: a leadership pathway; a demand and accountability pathway; and a technical pathway. This approach is delivered through four key component areas on the VAHP program:

  • Corporate Services: Focusing on improved business planning, budgeting, and the successful rollout of the Vanuatu government’s Health Sector Strategy.
  • Provincial Focus: Fostering constructive dialogue and planning between national and provincial health authorities to help address local health priorities.
  • Public Health: Improving surveillance systems, data management, and health communication messaging.
  • Workforce Development: Supporting system reviews, professional development opportunities, and cross sectoral engagement on Human Resource Management reform.

Goals and Results

The goal of the Vanuatu Australia Health Partnership is effective delivery of the health components of the People’s Plan and commitment to health services demanded at national, provincial and local levels by a healthy, secure and productive population. The end of program outcomes are:

  • Ministry of Health senior staff lead continuous improvement and strengthened accountability of the Vanuatu health sector.
  • Ministry of Health corporate services, public health and clinic services staff increase delivery of equitable, accessible, and better-quality essential health services.
2019 - 2024
Implemented by
DT Global Asia Pacific
Technical Areas
Sub-Technical Areas
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