18 May 2012

New Zealand medical teams in Cook Islands to provide ear, nose and throat care

1:38 pm on 18 May 2012

A New Zealand specialist ear nurse says she's seen a huge improvement in the health of people in the Cook Islands over the past fifteen years she's been visting the country.

The Tauranga nurse, Diane Hamilton, says she's seen improvements in medical intervention and general living conditions in both the Northern and Southern Cook Islands.

She says people are responding well to the current ear, nose and throat specialist team, which is based at Rarotonga hospital this week, with a non-stop line of people coming through to have their hearing checked.

She says perforated ear drums and chronic ear infections are the most common complaints and most people can be helped in some way.

"It's quite nice to see somebody's eyes light up when they suddenly can hear and the world changes around them. And then they can sort of communicate with their family a lot easier and you know you kind of see people sit up and open their eyes wide and even find their own voice sounds different."

Diane Hamilton says NZ Aid is funding the audiology team's visit to the Cook Islands.

Two New Zealand orthopaedic surgeons are due to hold clinics soon in Rarotonga for people with bone and joint problems, and an eye specialist team has just completed a visit.