About Us

Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health (Te Marae Ora) is the main provider of primary and secondary healthcare services in the Cook Islands. Certain tertiary level health services are provided through visiting health specialists from New Zealand and Australia. The Ministry is also responsible for providing health policy advice to the Minister of Health.

Our Vision

All people living in the Cook Islands living healthier lives and achieving their aspirations

Our Mission

To provide accessible, affordable health care and equitable health services of the highest quality, by and for all, in order to improve the health status of people living in the Cook Islands

Our Values

Respect, People focused, Equity, Quality, Integrity, Accountability

Statutory Framework

The Cook Islands health system is made up of eight pieces of legislation. The most significant are the Ministry of Health Act 2013 and the Public Health Act 2004. The legislative framework establishes the Secretary of Health as the Head of the Ministry, and key advisor to the Minister of Health on all matters pertaining to the Cook Islands health system and health care services.

Ministry of Health Act 2013

This Act sets out Te Marae Ora's responsibilities to manage government-owned and operated health facilities; including those not provided or managed by the Ministry. The Act sets out conditions to regulate health professionals and ensure professional oversight and quality controls are in place to protect providers and patients. The Act also sets out the Ministry's role to advise the Government and Minister of Health.
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Public Health Act 2004

This Act sets out our responsibilities to protect population health. The Act contains provisions for communicable disease control such as vector control and infectious disease management, surveillance, environmental health, water, waste and sanitation and border control measures. The Act empowers delegated health officers to regulate, investigate and monitor compliance to relevant legislation to prevent the spread of disease and protect population health.
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Medical and Dental Practices Act 1976

The Medical and Dental Council is established through this legislation. The Act outlines the membership and functions of the council to ensure professional and ethical standards are upheld in medical and dental practice. The Act sets out the requirements for health professionals to register to practise in the Cook Islands and maintain clinical practice and competence in their respective professions.
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Nurses Act 1986

This legislation establishes the Nursing Council. The Act outlines the membership and functions of the council to regulate nursing professionals. The Act sets out requirements for nurses to register with the council, and provide adequate care within the scope of practice.
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Dental Act 1971

This Act outlines the practice of dentistry in the Cook Islands and the requirements for oral health professionals working in the country. The Act sets out Te Marae Ora's plans to grow capacity in various areas of dentistry such as dental surgery, dental technology and dental hygiene.
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Food Act 1993

This Act was enacted to control the importation, processing, packaging, preparation, storage, transport, advertising and sale of food in the Cook Islands. The Act establishes the Food Safety Advisory Committee to regulate food safety measures. The Act also empowers health officers to issue a licence to sell food and monitor food handling and hygiene to prevent and outbreak of food-borne disease.
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Tobacco Products Control Act 2007

The purpose of this legislation is to eliminate the advertising and promotion of tobacco products in the Cook Islands. The Act sets out conditions and restrictions on the sale of tobacco products to those aged below 18 years; signage and advertising at point of sale; as well as restrictions on quantities of tobacco products sold.
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COVID-19 Act 2020

This Act was passed by Parliament on 25 March 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this legislation is to implement measures to prevent, limit or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its effects. The Act empowers Te Marae Ora to isolate and quarantine persons in order to mitigate the spread of disease. The legislation also empowers the Minister of Health to issue restrictions to limit the spread of infection.
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Health Strategies

National Health Road Map 2017-2036

The Health Road Map is a 20-year plan for the health sector. The vision of the Road Map is a 'healthy and peaceful Cook Islands that values human rights and dignity through the provision of quality equitable health care and services based on the principles of primary health care and universal health coverage'. There are three focus areas to achieve this vision over 20 years, including strengthening health systems, health care service excellence and public and private partnership.

National Health Strategic Plan 2017-2021

The Health Strategic Plan operationalises the three key focus areas outlined in the National Health Road Map. The strategic plan sets out goals and measures for success across six different areas: health administration and management, community health services, hospital health services, allied health services, Pa Enua health services and health partners.

Our Health Indicators

Health indicators are relevant to define the goal for Te Marae Ora. Indicators play an important role in turning data into relevant information for decision-makers and the public. Te Marae Ora has 130 indicators to measure if we are meeting our targets. These indicators draw from the National Sustainable Development Plan for the country, sustainable development goals, the Healthy Islands vision and core global health indicators set by the World Health Organization.
Reporting
Our annual performance reports are submitted to the Office of the Public Service Commissioner twice during each fiscal year. The first is submitted after six months’ and the second is submitted after 12 months. Te Marae Ora also prepares an annual report to the Office of the Prime Minister on our progress to achieving our goals outlined in the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2016-2020. We also provide periodic reports to the Minister of Health and our communities.