The Lenity Scholarship Program is raising nursing care to a new level of excellence in the Kingdom of
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - such as cardiovascular and diabetes - are endemic and present
an increasing drain on the economy and are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Tonga.
Early detection, prevention and management are critical. Poor diet, lack of physical exercise,
smoking and the harmful use of alcohol are the main contributing factors. Compounding this issue
is that Tonga, with a population of approximately 107,000, is spread over an archipelago of over 170
islands covering 750 square kilometres.
A pre-requisite of the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board (TNQAB) is that teachers
have a qualification at least one level higher than the course they teach. However, the qualifications
of the teaching staff at the Queen Salote School of Nursing (QSSN) only allow student education up
to diploma level as most teachers at the QSSN are only educated to bachelor’s degree level.
Consequently, the lack of master’s level qualified nursing teachers limits the number of bachelor’s
degree nurses and impacts on the quality of care and the effectiveness of the health sector. The
flow-on effect will result in an increased number of more highly-skilled health professionals who will
be at the forefront in the delivery of essential (basic by Australian standards) care.
The Lenity Scholarship program has educated 6 nurses to the Advanced Learning Master’s level. Ten
will enable Queen Salote School of Nursing to apply to teach nursing at degree level.