There are two modern hospitals. One hospital serves phosphate industry employees; the other provides free medical treatment for the rest of the population. Patients who need specialized care are flown to Australia. In 1995, there were 1.6 physicians and 5.9 nurses per 1,000 people.
Tuberculosis, leprosy, diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies have been the main health problems, partly due to the switch to a Westernized diet. A national foot care education program was launched in 1992 to decrease the number of diabetic amputations. With modern facilities and treatments, many of these diseases have been brought under control. Cardiovascular disease has also been a major cause of illness and death.
Life expectancy as of 2002 was estimated at 61.6 years. The infant mortality rate was an estimated 10.5 per 1,000 live births. The crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 26.6 and 7.1 per 1,000 people. The immunization rates for children under one year old in 1990 were as follows: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, 74%; polio, 74%; measles, 74%; and tuberculosis, 93%.
There were no reported cases of polio or AIDS in 1995. Tuberculosis was reported in only four cases during 1994.