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Health ministers from 20 Pacific island countries and areas convened yesterday in the Cook Islands for the 12th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting. The biennial gathering seeks to reaffirm the importance of the Healthy Islands vision in promoting and protecting the health of the Pacific islands people.

The Healthy Islands vision is to strengthen leadership, governance and accountability; nurture children in body and mind; reduce avoidable disease and premature death; and promote ecological balance. It has served as a unifying theme for health protection and promotion in the Pacific since it was adopted at the first Pacific Health Ministers Meeting on Yanuca Island, Fiji in 1995. It reflects the comprehensive, integrated approach to health that is a hallmark of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific Region.

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