Healthy Islands

South Pacific Situation Summary

A ministerial conference on health for the Pacific islands was convened in Fiji in 1995, which resulted in the Yanuca Declaration. This meeting identified three priority issues which were: human resources development; health promotion and health protection; and the supply and management of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies.

Follow-up meetings of ministers of health for the Pacific island countries and areas were held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in 1997 where the ministers adopted the Rarotonga Agreement: Towards Healthy Islands.

Another follow-up meeting of ministers of health of the Pacific Island countries was convened in Koror, Republic of Palau, from 17 to 19 March 1999. The meeting reviewed progress made in implementation of the Healthy Islands concept and unanimously adopted the"Palau Action Statement".

In Madang, Papua New Guinea from 12 to 15 March 2001 the meeting reviewed progress in implementing the Palau Action Statement and ways to strengthen collaboration using the Healthy Islands approach in the following areas:

  • communicable diseases with special reference to control of tuberculosis and filariasis, and surveillance;
  • noncommunicable diseases, in particular diabetes; and
  • human resource development in such areas as distance learning and primary health management. The meeting adopted the "Madang Commitment Towards Healthy Islands ".

In Nuku'alofa, from 10 to 13 March 2003 the main theme of the meeting was "Healthy Lifestyles and Supportive Environments". The subjects covered at the meeting included diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases; diet, physical activity and health; the Tobacco Free Initiative; mental health; environmental health; and HIV/AIDS in the Pacific. The meeting adopted the "Tonga Commitment to Promote Healthy Lifestyles and Supportive Environments" which contains recommendations, as well as clear objectives and indicators to measure progress and in Apia, Samoa in 2005.

This series of meetings developed a vision of health in the Pacific islands in light of the special geographical, social, economic, and health features, specific to island nations and territories. This vision has been applied in areas such as environmental health, diabetes, obesity, mental health, human resource management, elimination of lymphatic filariasis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and parasitic diseases.

For further information on these meetings: www.who/ncd/mnh