Pacific Health Ministers

NZ and Aust called on up their game over Pacific health

The Pacific is struggling to cope with the impact of non-communicable diseases, with figures for a whole range of conditions steadily worsening.

The region's health ministers meet once every two years but the host minister, the Cook Islands' Nandi Glassie, said both the larger countries sent foreign affairs officials this year.

He said when the ministers started talking about critical health matters they needed to have the input from the New Zealand and Australia health ministers.

Pacific health chiefs meet in Rarotonga

The World Health Organisation says the biennial meeting is an opportunity to develop a unified view of NCDs as a development priority rather than a health concern.

The WHO said Pacific Island countries are struggling to cope with NCDs, including childhood obesity and diabetes, which it says are a burden on health systems and Pacific economies.

It said the causes of NCDs are diverse, therefore, the solutions must be multi-sectoral.

Developing the Pacific's health workforce will also be brought to the attention of ministers.