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By Tara Carr

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Nov. 15) – The Cook Islands is preparing itself for a pandemic response. Meetings are to be held with various members of the community to discuss a draft pandemic preparedness plan for the Cook Islands.

Public health director Ngapoko Short says the meetings will be held with various ministries, non-government organisations and civil societies to come up with a plan that will be used if at any time the country is under threat of an influenza pandemic.

The initiative for a preparedness plan arose during a World Health Organisation (WHO) conference in Fiji. Short was at the conference earlier this month which was also attended by representatives from 17 Pacific Island countries as well as aid agencies from New Zealand and Australia.

Short says the Pacific representatives recognised that a pandemic influenza could pose a significant threat to the nations. Bird flu is one such health problem putting a number of nations including those in the Pacific on alert.

November 21, 2005

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