The visiting Rheumatic Relief team from Utah yesterday thanked the Ministry of Health for their continuous support towards their work over the years.
They met the Ministry of Health’s Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.
The team is here to identify children with rheumatic heart disease (R.H.D.) and provide support and medical treatment to those who have been identified with the disease.
“I was quite happy with the support of the government and the Prime Minister given for this project,” Leausa said.
“We do not know the significance of R.H.D. in Samoa. Sometimes we might have the skills, but we do not have the equipment and the facilities to do it. I think for the past years we have been able to achieve quite a lot. And I think we have benefited a lot from this programme.
“We look forward to another year and another time we will meet again. This is continuing to be strengthened and improved.”
The Rheumatic Relief Team Programme Director, Lori Ellen said: “We have five heart cardiologists working with us, seven cardiologists, 22 university students, and we have Master and PhD students along with some professors from B.Y.U,” she said.
The team of 55 people will be visiting some schools all over Samoa.
“We scan and teach the children, teach the parents and the teachers and principals.”
“The most change we can do and what I see from the programme is awareness. When we drive around and people see our shirts, they know who we are.
“Through this awareness, they are able to see it in their own family the possibility of heart disease. That is what we are trying to reach.”
Mrs. Ellen’s husband Marvin is a Cardiologist and is also part of the team.
“There are opportunities for services to help the people here in Samoa. The donation support of the families we got, we really appreciate. We love to come here to Samoa, we love the people and children,” Mr. Ellen said.
“We have amazing students here and what we want is to connect them with the environment and to show them that health is related to everyone.
“We do some work in the village of Saipipi, looking at the impact of climate change,” he said.
Mrs. Ellen added: “We really appreciate the partnership with the Government and the support of the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister has always got our back and so does Dr. Take. I think with their support, it minimizes the challenges we face.
“We are here in a spirit of humanity and service. We are very dedicated to the culture of Samoa.
“The work that is produced in Samoa, we do not have in any other country. We are here with you to work with you (Dr. Take) and we appreciate this opportunity,” Mrs. Ellen said.