Iro, who will join the World Health Organisation as its chief nursing officer early next year, received the prestigious award based on her performance as the head of the ministry in the financial year 2016-17.
The Health ministry was the joint winner of the Performance Excellence Awards alongside the Education ministry.
The awards was also attended by the prime minister Henry Puna, who thanked heads of the ministries (HOMs) for their leadership in the 2016/17 financial year.
Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas said the Cook Islands Public Service Excellence Awards was one of the ways to encourage the HOMs to work towards their vision of “excellence in public service”.
He said it was also a recognition for the work of the HOMs in trying to deliver government priorities in their agencies.
“We are working towards our vision of public service of excellence. It’s in progress and these (awards) are some of the ways that we can encourage our heads of ministries to work towards this big vision of excellence in public service,” Thomas said.
“There is always challenges and when we talk about challenges, one of the biggest challenges is the budget constraints but the head of the ministries were able to improvise in some cases.
“We are appreciative of the work that the head of the ministries are doing.”
Thomas said the awards to the agencies looked into five areas.
For the first time in the history of the awards, he said they have extended it to include the other awards, alongside the Performance Excellence Awards.
“One is living the public service values and then we have awards for pockets of excellence and we referred to the performance of the heads of ministries over the last financial year (for this awards),” Thomas said.
“The third one is our sector development awards. We have five sectors, the economic sector, governance, environment, infrastructure and so forth.
“The fourth one is our performance excellence award and over the past, or at least four to five years, education and ministry of health have always been our top performers.”
Thomas said they were fortunate to have PM Puna at the awards event.