Secretary of Health Bob Williams. RYAN ANDERSON/STUFF/21081919
From July to December last year, Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health (TMO) had 33 staff including nurses concluding their employment for various reasons.
Secretary ofHealth Bob Williams said reasons
included studies and training opportunities, end of contract and returning
overseas, migration due to family priorities and better remuneration packages
offered either from in-country and/or overseas employers.
With 119 nurses currently employed under TMO, the
ministry is looking forward to its first cohort of 20 graduates next year.
Through the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific Programme
delivered by Whitireia Community Polytechnic Limited, the second intake of 20
students will be enrolled in 2024 followed by the third intake of another 20
students in 2026.
A total of 60 students will undergo the nursing programme
through the collaboration of the University of the South Pacific (USP), Te
Marae Ora and Whitireia Polytechnic.
Williams said the official programme was launched on May
27 last year and classes had commenced on May 30.
The students are on scholarships and will be bonded to
the Cook Islands Government.
Williams said to get into the programme, those interested
have had to successfully complete high school studies overseas or recently
completed tertiary study at Level 4 with a B average and/or relevant work
Meanwhile, Williams added that the ministry would be
looking to get more nurses from Pacific Island neighbours to cover the vacant
and skilled positions.