At the request of the Cook Islands Government, the Pasifika Medical Association’s (PMA) Medical Assistance Team (PACMAT) will deploy a five-member team to the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 06 – 10 November.

They will provide clinical oversight and medical assistance throughout the duration of the Meeting. Team Leader, Dr Stephen Stathis, shares of the outcomes they wish to achieve as a result of this visit.

PMA Chief Executive, Debbie Sorensen, emphasises the ongoing relationship between PMA and the Cook Islands.

“We deeply appreciate the relationship we share with the Cook Islands, and our intention is to sustain this partnership well into the foreseeable future.

“Our recent MOU agreement with Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health reflects our commitment to working closely with the Cook Islands to meet the health and wellbeing needs of all Cook Islanders.”

Sorensen said the PACMAT team are ready for deployment.

“When our communities, our people, and our nations call upon us for assistance, we will be there. Our PACMAT team is thoroughly prepared and have the expertise needed to do the job.”

Dr Maryann Heather will lead the PACMAT team, which will consist of general practitioners, registered nurses and an anesthetist

Dr Heather is a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, holds an academic post at the University of Auckland Faculty of Medicine and is the Clinical Director for Etu Pasifika Integrated Primary Care Services in South Auckland. She is an experienced Team leader and has been recently deployed to Vanuatu, Niue, Tairāwhiti and Samoa.

“We are grateful to be called to provide assistance, and we will help and support where we are needed.

“We appreciate the opportunity to support our Pacific communities and contribute to their well-being in any way we can.”

This year, more than one-hundred delegates from across the region will convene to work towards achieving the Pacific Leaders’ vision of creating a resilient Pacific Region.

Craig Sionetuato, Director of Pacific Regional Services at PMA Group, expresses the team’s sense of privilege in applying their skills at the PIF Leaders Meeting.

“We are grateful for the opportunity extended by the Government of the Cook Islands, and we have complete confidence in our team’s ability to provide outstanding services at the PIF Leaders Meeting,” said Sionetuato.