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By Helen Greig

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 21) – A Cook Islands research website was launched at the recent annual national health conference.

Research is undertaken in the Cooks by applying to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

Research in all areas including health is included in the new website at

The website has been launched with the assistance of the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and NZAID.

HRC chairman Graeme Fraser gave one of the opening presentations at the health conference.

He said the strategic plan for Pacific research developed by the HRC Pacific health research committee led by Cook Islands doctor Kiki Maoate is a notable achievement.

Fraser said research in the Pacific had generally been carried out by outsiders and taken out of the region, not benefiting the people or the country.

He said historically there was not a strong Pacific research base in New Zealand but that the new strategic plan means research will be geared at Pacific health outcomes.

According to the website, priority areas of research are vector-borne diseases, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer, oral health, STIs and HIV/AIDS, mental health and sports injuries.

Fraser stressed that research must be relevant to and benefit the communities that are involved.

Building capacity by getting behind talented people in research is part of boosting research in the Pacific. The HRC provides funding for researchers and also has a mentoring programme.

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