Lawyer, Lauaki Jason Annandale, is the new President of the Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S).
Lauaki was elected when the Samoa Cancer Society held its Annual General Meeting.
He is joined by the following members who were elected to serve on the Executive Board for 2017:
Vice President- Rev Siaosi Salesulu, Treasurer- Lemauga Hobart Vaai, Secretary- Kilisitina Best, and Executive members: Taupau Bruce Leiataua, Tautalatasi Dr John Adams, Papali’i Viopapa Annandale-Atherton, Susie Poort, & Audrey Brown-Pereira.
The Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, was voted by the members to continue as Patron of the Society. Kilisitina Best presented the Members with the 2016 Annual Report and reflected on the many achievements and challenges of the society’s work.
She reported that last year S.C.S continued to focus on its Strategic Plan goals and both the Board and Staff worked hard to ensure the continuation of its Outreach and Patient services. Executive Officer Shelley Burich maintained the organization’s high visibility through the implementation of its programs, services and fundraising activities.
It was emphasized that the work of the Society in 2016 had largely been funded through the generous support from the community and Government of Samoa.
Acknowledgement was given to all the many organizations, individuals and volunteers who had helped the Society throughout 2016 “…which allowed us to collectively achieve our goals and try to make a difference in our community, to effect change, to improve health standards, and to provide support for those who suffer from this illness (cancer)…”
Noteworthy points from the Annual Report include: the global cancer burden is growing and cancer is now responsible for almost one in six deaths globally. Early diagnosis can help detect cancer patients at an earlier stage, enabling treatment that is more effective, less complex and less expensive and in 2016, the society focused on developing a way to reinforce the early detection messages through a media-centred approach and face to face awareness campaigns.
The report also stated that patient support has developed both locally and in New Zealand for our cancer patients on the government funded overseas medical scheme.
This has been made possible through the patient support volunteers and key relationships with the Auckland Cancer Society, Child Cancer Foundation N.Z., Auckland Starship Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.
As more people living with cancer and their families look to the society for assistance with information, advocacy, to help navigate the health system and address their needs, more effort will be made to increase the patient support services through local and overseas collaborations.
The incoming Executive Committee, led by newly elected President Lauaki Jason Annandale will focus on strengthening the organization and its capacity to deal with the cancer-related issues affecting our Samoan community. S.C.S. is keen to further build on its relationships in 2017, improve patient services and advocacy work as well as promote its early detection media campaign funded by the Civil Society Support Programme.