RAROTONGA, Cook Islands, 30 August 2017 – Health ministers from 20 Pacific island countries and areas today took important steps towards realizing their vision of Healthy Islands and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, as the 12th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting concluded in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Ministers endorsed the Healthy Islands monitoring framework and adopted resolutions on: universal health coverage; health information systems; rheumatic heart disease; health workforce development; noncommunicable diseases including childhood obesity; mental health; emerging diseases and disaster preparedness and response; and climate change and health.
Over the course of the three-day meeting, the health ministers also agreed to continue working together to tackle key challenges guided by concerns for equity and the Healthy Islands vision to strengthen leadership, governance and accountability; nurture children in body and mind; reduce avoidable disease and premature death; and promote ecological balance.
“I am very proud that the Cook Islands has hosted this very important meeting this week. I am also proud of what we have achieved here – including the endorsement of the new Healthy Islands Monitoring Framework. What gets measured gets managed – and in adopting the Framework we have taken another step towards realising the Healthy Islands vision,” said the Honourable Nandi Glassie, Cook Islands Minister of Health.
Ministers also resolved to ensure Pacific voices are heard in global fora on issues which have a disproportionate impact on countries in this Region, such as non-communicable diseases and childhood obesity, rheumatic heart disease, and climate change.
“Countries with the smallest carbon footprint such as small island states are those which bear the greatest burden from climate change, yet currently have the least support to respond. WHO stands ready to support Pacific Island countries to deal with the health impact of climate change in any way we can,” said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.
“The Ministers’ discussion on climate change was a powerful reminder about just what is at stake in global discussions about the impact of changing climate: people. We must ensure Pacific voices are heard on this issue globally, including at the upcoming 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which Fiji will chair,” said Dr Colin Tuikuitonga, Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC).
“I would like to thank the Government of the Cook Islands for having hosted this very productive meeting,” said Dr Shin. “Harnessing our shared commitment to improve health, and with the support of donors and partners, I am confident that Pacific countries can make the Healthy Islands vision a reality.”
The next Pacific Health Ministers Meeting will be held in 2019.
For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Health, Cook Islands
Telephone: +682 29664
Mr Saula Volavola
Division of Pacific Technical Support, WHO Fiji
Telephone: +679 330 4600
Twelfth Pacific Health Ministers Meeting: http://www.health.gov.ck/healthy-islands/media/ and www.wpro.who.int/southpacific/pic_meeting/2017