Healthy Islands is an ideal envisioned in 1995 at the first meeting of the Ministers of Health for the Pacific Island Countries on Yanuca Island, Fiji. That vision has served as a unifying theme for health protection and health promotion in the Pacific and reflects the comprehensive and integrated approach to health that is a hallmark of the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.
It laid the foundation for meetings of the Ministers of Health that have followed every year. Those meetings and the ongoing work of health professionals, government ministries and donor partners have helped establish the Healthy Islands movement as a major public health force in the Pacific.
Three themes have emerged at all six meetings of the Ministers of Health:
- the predominant and growing burden of non- communicable diseases;
- the lingering burden of infectious diseases and the dangers of their re-emergence; and
- the need to support health systems so that they can cope with this double burden of communicable and non-communicable disease.