The Sustainable Development Goals Index threshold of 4.45 physicians, nurses and midwives per 1000 population is needed to deliver a comprehensive range of health services. The density and profile of the obstetrics and gynaecology workforce in the Pacific Island Countries have not been determined.
A list of obstetric and gynaecology specialists working in selected Pacific Island countries was collated from databases held by the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health, Fiji National University the University of Papua New Guinea and national societies. Those with known email addresses were invited to participate in an online survey.
There were 90 obstetrics and gynaecology specialists practicing in the Pacific Islands – 64% were male and 32% female. The ratio of specialists per 100,000 population was highest in American Samoa (12), lowest in Papua New Guinea (0.54) and four countries did not have a specialist. The Pacific region would require a further 233 specialists to have a ratio of 3 per 100,000 population.
There were 33 respondents reporting stressful workloads. They identified training needs in laparoscopic surgery, ultrasound scanning and vaginal surgery. Task shifting to other health workers was common, especially in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Workforce development strategies addressing capacity of training institutions, innovate on curriculums, recruitment, retention, task shifting and workforce support through improved investment.