The Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Dr Terepai Maoate, says customary ways of treating patients should be integrated into the health system because they are part of the local culture.
Dr Maoate says the two systems are easily combined without changing or compromising one another.
He says a constructive partnership between biomedical doctors and traditional practitioners would be of advantage.
"The whole idea is to firstly recognise the traditional medicine in the country. The traditional healers don't come to the doctors and say 'look, this is wrong, you should do it this way'. The same respect should go to the traditional healers. The important thing is they must respect each other."
Dr Maoate says the ministry of health must guide the usage of both, traditional and biomedical prescriptions to ensure safety.