China has again come to the rescue to help alleviate the chronic shortage of doctors at the national hospital.
Through an agreement called the Chinese Medical Team (C.M.T.) Agreement signed yesterday, Chinese doctors will be brought in to work at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital – and other places in Samoa where they are needed.
The agreement was signed by Minister for Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Talalelei Tuitama and China’s Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng.
Tuitama hailed the agreement as a step in the right direction. He also quashed fears about language barriers assuring the Government would ensure the issue is addressed through the use of translators.
“This is a significant contribution provided by the Government of China to complement the efforts by the Government of Samoa to address the shortage of medical doctors in a number of specialisations, increase opportunities for capacity building and to equip the hospitals for services delivery throughout the country,” Tuitama said (read his remarks on page 12).
“China continues to make significant contributions to developments in the health sector. The construction of the new hospital, office premises and facilities reflects China’s responsiveness to address Samoa’s needs for a healthy population.”
Tuitama expressed gratitude for China’s generous support since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Samoa 42 years ago.
Ambassador Wang said the medical team from Jilin Province, North China, will send in four batches in the course of two years, with each batch comprising six medical professionals.
“The Chinese medical team will provide professional medical services in the department of neurosurgery, urology, traumatic orthopedics, cardiology, ophthalmology, endocrinology dermatology, otolaryngology, pathology, nephrology, internal medicine and acute care and other departments respectively,” he said.
Mr. Wang said besides medical services, they will also provide clinical training, lectures and seminars for both staff members of the hospitals and medical students in Samoa.
“The cooperation in the medical field between China and Samoa has a long history and achieved fruitful results over the years. Since 1980s, the Chinese Government has started sending medical teams to Samoa to provide voluntary medical services to Samoan people.
“Up to now, about 100 medical professionals of 14 medical teams have worked in various hospitals in Samoa. In recent years, the ophthalmologists from Zhongshan Ophthalmologic Center of Sun Yat-sen University of Guangdong Province came to Samoa each year to perform free cataract surgeries on local patients and help them regain their sights.
“They also aided in building Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital. Last year, Huizhou Municipal government of Guangdong Province of China donated some large-scale advanced medical equipment worth $3.2 million to Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital. Meanwhile, dozens of Samoan doctors and nurses were invited to attend medical training programmes held in China,” he added.
Mr. Wang hopes the signing will bring about more fruitful results in terms of cooperation to benefit the Samoan people.
Tuitama added: “It is part of the conditions for them (Chinese medical team) to speak English.”