Minister for Health Rose Toki-Brown at the 74th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Western Pacific Meeting. 23102304
Cook Islands has endorsed and shown its support for the development of the draft Asia Pacific Health Security Action Framework which was raised at the 74th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Western Pacific Meeting.
Te Marae Ora Minister
for Health Rose Toki-Brown, who represented the country at this meeting held in
Manila, Philippines from October 16-20, also called on development partners to
be flexible in their approach for technical and general support.
Speaking at the meeting, Brown said: “The new development of the draft Asia Pacific Health Security Action framework was timely to escalate our collective collaboration, investment and response to future public health emergencies. This calls for the need to strengthen a resilient health system and facilities and integrating health security in primary care settings for universal health coverage to leave no one behind.”
“So the Cook Islands
gives full support to the endorsement of the Asia Pacific Health Security
Toki-Brown said the effect
of climate change, pandemic outbreaks like Covid-19 and ongoing civil conflicts
in some parts of the world are affecting the health security of people in the
region and globally.
“The increasing need
to respond effectively to new risks to public health is timely, as the 2005
Asia Pacific strategy emerging diseases and public health emergencies have
served its purpose.”
Toki-Brown also called
on development partners to be flexible in their approach and support for technical
and general support to countries in need.
She said this includes
streamlining application processes for support from the Green Climate Fund and
others to strengthen health system resilience and facilities.
Toki-Brown also echoed
the commitment by the Pacific Health Ministers to strengthen health systems
resilience at its recent Pacific Health Ministers meeting in Tonga.
At the opening session
of the meeting, she said: “My country, the Cook Islands is very small and so we
also have very small budget entitlements, so we are thankful and we acknowledge
and thank WHO country officers in Samoa and Fiji for the unwavering support
provided to the Cook Islands.”
the comments made by the WHO acting Director General for flexible financial
support in the budgetary process and to allow country officers to make
decisions based on the needs of member countries.
“Many times we
encounter lengthy compliance discussions for project or programme support
requests, and many times our country’s needs do not align well with WHO process
Toki-Brown said if the
bureaucratic process were streamlined and country officers were empowered to
expedite decision making and support, they would be sure to achieve and
implement more priority programmes.
“I am grateful and thank you again WHO and many other development partners for your ongoing support and … Cooks supports the programme budget for 2024 and 2025.”
The Minister also
congratulated Dr. Saia Ma'u Piukala, a surgeon and most recently Tonga’s Health
Minister, who is to lead the Western Pacific as WHO Regional Director.