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Letter: How’s ya health?

Wednesday 24 January 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: How’s ya health?

Dear Editor, The World Health Organization has recently released its ‘Tracking Universal Health Coverage 2023 Global Monitoring Report’ and the results are not good for the Cook Islands. In fact, we are third to bottom in the Pacific - just above Niue and Papua New Guinea.

The report indicated that we are “off-track to make significant progress to universal health coverage. Universal Health Coverage means that all people can receive quality health services when and where they need it and without incurring financial hardship.

While the Cook Islands scores reasonably well in maternal and child health and access to hospital beds and other facilities, it is the area of NCDs that is the big worry, particularly in hypertension treatment and diabetes prevention. As well, we are not scoring highly in complying with International Health Regulations.

The report echoes other data, for example the National Children's policy. The MOH described the results of a survey of school-aged children in 2019 as “the proportion of overweight and obese children has increased from 31% in 2017 to 48% in 2019”. This means that it is not only middle-aged people who are at risk of hypertension and diabetes but that the younger generation is also.

Professor Heather Worth

Director Te Puna Vai Marama,

Cook Islands Research Centre,

University of the South Pacific, Cook Islands campus.