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Living in Kiribati
A practical guide to the way of life in Kiribati
There are no ways to describe Kiribati other than a paradise on earth: the unspoiled beauty of these islands is appealing more and more expats and tourists alike, but it is important to be aware of what daily life in Kiribati can be like!
Life in Kiribati
Healthcare in Kiribati
Healthcare in Kiribati is extremely basic and can be limited in some areas. The healthcare system consists of four publicly funded hospitals and around 20 walk-in health facilities. The hospitals of the islands are adequately equipped for routine healthcare. The main public hospital, Tungaru Central Hospital, is situated in the central town of Tarawa and features a tuberculosis ward, a small laboratory, an x-ray machine and an operating theatre. In addition to this, there are 70 pharmaceutical dispensaries, located throughout the islands, which are suitably equipped to cope with minor injuries and common ailments.
A few of the serious issues which effect Kiribati’s strained health sector include high birth mortality rates, tuberculosis and eye diseases. As well as the public health facilities, a large portion of locals also choose to use traditional, local healers. Foreigners starting a new life in Kiribati are advised to purchase health insurance which covers the costs of medical evacuation in case of an emergency.
Education in Kiribati
Between the ages of six and 14, education is both free and compulsory for all children in Kiribati. The school system is made up of six years of primary followed by three grades at secondary level. Despite this, a significant number of children in Kiribati do not attend school. There are many factors which contribute to this high attrition rate, including the reluctance of many families to send their children to school as working would be more financially beneficial.
Every inhabited island of Kiribati has a primary school, however secondary institutions are fewer and far between, which may account for low attendance figures in older children. There are no international or private schools in the country, however, many expats prefer to send their children to one of the many non-government schools which are run and funded by various missionary church groups.
Transportation in Kiribati
Kiribati is home to a 670 km network of paved roads and highways. The majority of roads are in good condition and can be found in and around the country’s only urban district, Tarawa. In order to drive, foreigners should be in possession of a valid international drivers license. Driving takes place on the left hand side. Traffic is light, but road safety laws are inconsistently enforced and drink driving and speeding are frequent issues so expats should take extra caution when behind the wheel.
In addition to this, the roads in rural and less inhabited regions suffer from potholes and general poor condition. Public transport is regular and reliable, with vans which hold around 20 people passing through Tarawa every few minutes. These minibuses cover long routes and are extremely cheap. To hop between islands in Kiribati, make the most of the many short boat journeys which travel between the islands ports and harbors.
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