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13 MAY 2022

After many years with limited hearing, Atiu resident Jude Isaia is rapt with her new hearing aid.

Specialist services at Rarotonga Hospital have resumed, including specialist hearing clinics, which took place this week.

“Until I got my new pair of ears, I didn’t really appreciate how much I’d missed out on. I’m so grateful for this intervention. Grateful too, to the many people who made it possible,” Mrs Isaia commented.

Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health hospital services director Dr Yin Yin May has announced a tentative specialist services schedule, confirming a cataract surgery team from New Zealand will arrive in Rarotonga on 22 June.

Dr May says for the first time, the Cook Islands has procured the laser machine to treat

people with diabetes, who have poor vision.

The cataract surgery team is set to start work at Rarotonga Hospital on 23 June and will leave on 8 July.

They will be doing as many cataract surgeries as possible during this time, but unfortunately not all will be done due to backlog, Dr May says.

Gastroscopy clinics will also start in June.

It’s been three years since breast screening took place in Rarotonga.

Dr May said breast screening has been tentatively booked for August.

Te Marae Ora secretary Bob Williams acknowledges that there are many people in Rarotonga and the Pa Enua who have been waiting long periods of times for specialist services like cataract surgery to resume.

“We apologise for this, but we will endeavour to have as many of our people treated as possible,” he says.

“As we have seen in health systems around the world, our Covid-19 response has been the priority. Unfortunately, that has meant there have been delays and hold ups, but we are back on track.”

ENDS: For more information, please visit www.health.gov.ck or contact Jaewynn McKay; jaewynn.mckay@cookislands.gov.ck   +682 55486