The change in the quality of healthcare and research presented at the conference has subsequently been met with high praise from both local authorities and overseas experts.
Secretary of Health Liz Iro says the local capacity is ‘just fantastic’, and it’s also fantastic to see this capacity come out in terms of the quality of the presented works.
“It was also fantastic to have such high praise from Professor Richard Poulton from the University of Otago,” Iro says.
Yesterday, she says, conference participants began the day with many presentations from local researchers including Dr Josephine Herman, Mayor Tairi and Eliza Puna.
Iro hopes their findings and recommendations will inform policies for the ministry in the future.
“I think it’s gone very well and the participation has been excellent,” she says of the conference so far.
On Monday, the conference kicked off with a 50-year celebration and reflection on the past 100 years of health care in the Cook Islands.
Iro says they also had the opportunity to present awards for doctors who, for the last couple of years, have been doing papers at Otago University in New Zealand.
Monday also saw the launch of the new Ministry of Health publication, ‘Te Ata O te Po – A Glimpse of the Past’.
Iro says the publication presented snapshots of Cook Islands health care for the past 100 years.
“A year ago Ministry of Health staff actually began researching to develop this publication,” she says.
The book was designed and laid out by a local graduate and was printed locally.
“I’m really proud of this locally-made product,” Iro says.
Monday night also featured the opening of a Ministry of Health art exhibition at the BCA gallery in Avarua. The exhibition will be at the gallery until Friday and is open to the public.
Iro says some photos were also auctioned on Monday night, with the proceeds going back to the ministry.
Today will see the launch of the ‘Hall of Fame’ for Cook Islands health at the Rarotonga Hospital.
Iro says during the writing of the new book, they identified seven individuals as rangatiras or pioneers of health.
“We felt these people needed to be placed on a higher level for their contribution to health,” she says.
New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley will also be orchestrating the handover of a new ambulance from St John’s in New Zealand this afternoon at the hospital.
Look out for the full story and pictures on the ambulance and ‘Hall of Fame’ in tomorrow’s edition of CI News.