Cabinet approves merger of health agencies

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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MINISTER OF HEALTH: Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama.

MINISTER OF HEALTH: Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

Cabinet has approved the merger of the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.), National Health Services (N.H.S.) and National Kidney Foundation (N.K.F.S.).

Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, confirmed this yesterday when he was approached by the media and asked to give an update on the matter following the conclusion of the Commission of Inquiry. 

“This was approved in a Cabinet meeting that was held last week. Not only that but Cabinet also recognises the Commission of Inquiry’s advice that they gave."

“The recommendation by them was considered by the Cabinet and this was the purpose of the Inquiry was to assist the task force appointed to see and finalise a structure for the merger,” he said.

The merger was based on the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and has been signed off by the Cabinet with the Minister saying work has now begun on a new structure. 

A transitional board to oversee the transition has been put in place, Tuitama added and indicated that the next step is the drafting of a law to give legal effect to the Cabinet’s decision. 

 “As we know nothing will be effective unless it is passed in the law. The entity that we are moving on to now will be either call the Ministry of Health or the Department of Health."

“There will be no more National Health Services and Ministry of Health but it will be the Ministry of Health. That is the next step that we are taking because Cabinet had just passed the merger last week."

“So for this week we will be contacting the Attorney General to work together with the Public Service Commission in putting together a law then we can go ahead with this new project,” he added. 

The new entity, which will oversee the Government’s health policy formulation and implementation programs, will be in place by January 2019. The Office of the Attorney General and the Public Service Commission have been given a timeline to work around. 

“The timeline that we have requested for this is that by the end of October to the beginning of September the law should be passed by then. Once the law is passed at that time then we can go ahead and advertise positions and requirements that are needed for the new structure. By the end of this year the transition is complete and the new Ministry is on the go by January next year,” said Tuitama.

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