The Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Dr Terepai Maoate, says traditional healers and customary ways of treating people cannot be ignored.
At the opening of the 7th annual Cook Islands Health Conference, Dr Maoate, who is a medical doctor, called for practitioners of traditional medicines to come forward so they may work together with conventional health professionals and form constructive partnerships.
Dr Maoate says while he fully supports new technology and conventional medical care, traditional Cook Islands methods of treatment should not be ignored.
His office says this is the first formal recognition given by a Minister of Health for the work of traditional practitioners.
Dr Maoate told the conference that he attributed his survival as a baby to being treated with traditional medicines when ill.