Rumours normally begin from some element of truth

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

For such a small country, there really is never a dull moment. 

What from the most interesting - and at times bizarre political statements - to everyday events that continue to baffle the mind given their contradictory nature to what this country claims to stand for, it’s all happening. 

For sure, they might be tragic, bizarre, corrupt, downright annoying but whether we agree or not, the truth is that there is always something on the horizon.

Take for instance another interesting development that is unfolding at Moto’otua as we speak. It has something to do with the much talked about merge between the National Health Services and the Ministry of Health.

On the front page of the Samoa Observer on Wednesday, it emerged that a certain section of the health sector is not happy with a plan by the Government to slash the salaries of doctors working at the hospital as part of the merge. 

The story goes on to say that both Samoa Medical Association (S.M.A.) and the Samoa Medical Council (S.M.C.) are alarmed by it. The President of S.M.A., Lauano Dr. Herbert Peters, confirmed they were aware about the plan and that they were consulting the Ministry of Health, through the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama. Although Lauano spoke to the Samoa Observer before the meeting, he indicated that their position is quite clear. 

“Nobody wants to reduce their salary,” he said. “That is not right.”

But Motuopua’a Dr. Aisoli Vaai, who is the Chairman of the Samoa Medical Council, was more forthcoming.

 “If it is true they are looking at reducing the salaries of doctors then that would be the wrong move,” he said. “For every hospital, there is a salary structure in terms of qualifications, longevity of service. That is really sad if that will happen.”

The former Member of Parliament went on to say this is one of the reasons Samoa continues to lose doctors, leading to a chronic shortage of doctors at the hospital.

“That is why after graduating with postgraduate degrees, they move overseas,” he said. “I was the President of S.M.A. for several years and this is the same issue that I came across. In all other countries, the salaries for doctors are significant, because they save lives. That is what we do and that is a fact.”

Motuopua’a said the plan, if it’s true, doesn’t reflect well on the Government.

 “This does not make any sense to any country that is supposed to be modern,” he said. “In this day and age, the world is moving forward yet we are moving backwards. That is not how you do things and that is not how doctors are supposed to be treated.”

We couldn’t agree more with Motuopua’a. Coming from a doctor and a politician, he would know exactly what he’s talking about and he makes a number of valid points. 

Keep in mind there are always two sides to a story. Now when Minister Tuitama was asked for a comment, he strongly rejected the report about the salaries. Instead, he accused the National Health Services of spreading false rumours as part of a conspiracy to sabotage the merge.

Yeah you heard it right. According to the Minister, there is an internal revolt to sabotage the merge.

Bizarre? Yeah we think so too but let’s hear him out first.

“All this false information is being spread around,” Tuitama said. “It is the present management that has been spreading the false information that the salaries will be slashed once they come under the P.S.C. I can tell you there is no plan for that.”

So who is responsible for the rumours? Well according to the Minister, it is the National Health Services. 

 “There are people here who are trying to sabotage the efforts of the Government in implementing the merge,” said the Minister. 

Several attempts to get a comment from the N.H.S. have been unsuccessful. 

It would be great to hear what they have to say about this. Keep in mind that rumours normally begin from some element of truth. Which means rumours don’t exist without a reason. There must be a reason and until we hear from N.H.S., it would be hard to make a judgment call on what the Minister is saying here.  

And here is another thing, isn’t the Minister of Health also responsible for N.H.S? Why is he fluffing about then in terms of dealing with the N.H.S if what he is saying is the truth?

But like we said earlier rumours begin from some element of truth.

 “The most challenging part of the merge is that when there are changes, it will always create doubt,” admitted the Minister. “There is fear they will lose their jobs and their salaries will be slashed. These fears are being exploited by the saboteurs who expand on them to create more fear so that people will stand up and reject and rebel against the merge.”

Well we hear you Mr. Minister. 

But let’s wait and see what N.H.S has to say. So stay tuned!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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