Cook Islands To Improve Demographic Record Keeping

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Gathering accurate statistics vital for good decisions: Minister

By Phillipa Webb

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 9, 2015) – A big improvement in the gathering of population statistics is expected in the Cook Islands over the next decade.

Health Minister Nandi Glassie says the gathering of facts and figures on births, deaths, marriages and health problems is vital in assisting the Government to decide what development programmes to implement.

Focusing on the gathering of civil registrations and vital statistics, the 10-year campaign follows an Asia-Pacific ministerial meeting held in Thailand late last year.

Glassie told ABC Radio Australia that while gathering accurate statistics might sound boring, it was something Pacific nations needed to focus on if they wanted to make good decisions.

Children born in the Cook Islands are required to be registered, and as an enticement, parents receive a one-off payment of $1000, as well as ongoing child allowances.

Pensioners also qualify to have their funeral arrangements paid for by the Government, providing another financial incentive to register.

The Government also keeps a record of Cook Islanders who live and die overseas, noting the reasons for their deaths in an effort to identify any health issues or trends that might have an impact on health services in this country.

Government Statistician and Chief Electoral Officer Taggy Tangimetua says the Health Minister’s radio interview was a great opportunity to tell the story of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in the Cook Islands and to make Cook Islanders more aware of the importance of population statistics.

"It also highlighted the health improvements that the CRVS information has shown in the Cooks in maternal and child health, the challenges we face and the need for a regional approach and data sharing."

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