Minister of Health Nandi Glassie and Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas were invited by Health secretary Liz Iro to acknowledge health professionals for their academic achievements.
More than 20 Ministry of Health staff from doctors, nurses, dentists, administrators and paramedics have all received a welcome pat on the back for their efforts to juggle work and study.
Iro said the Ministry aimed to ‘magnetise’ Cook Islanders to stay and work in the health sector by supporting education and making the ministry appealing for all different degree backgrounds.
Workforce development was a key strategy for the future of the ministry, she said.
Most of the graduates and students were supported to undertake their studies through scholarships from the World Health Organisation, the Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Aid programme.
“Remember you owe your people some time to come back here and serve.
“And don’t stop there – remember there is always room for education.”
Glassie praised the staff members and encouraged them to continue their education.
“Don’t stop here – the sky is the limit and the world is your oyster.”
Thomas also praised the graduates and said what really mattered was the service you provide to your people.
Local student Pokotea Unuia will complete her Bachelor in Oral Health from USP in Fiji at the end of next year and had spent her summer holidays working with the dentistry team in Rarotonga.
She looked forward to returning home to work as a dentist when she finished her studies.