Chronic shortage of health workers in Samoa highlighted

Samoa faces a chronic shortage of essential health workers.

The point was highlighted during a three-day workshop that brought together key stakeholders in Samoa to share and discuss the role of education in closing this gap. 

The workshop, co-hosted by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and the Faculty of Science at the National University of Samoa, was held last week.

It provided the opportunity to discuss the sharing of resources, both human and physical resources between the University and the National Health Services towards the provision of high quality health services for Samoa.  

Participants included health professionals from the National Health Services, Ministry of Health, Samoa National Kidney Foundation, the Samoa Medical Council/Association, the New Zealand Aid Office, and academics and students from the National University of Samoa.

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Over the three days, facilitators, presenters and participants discussed key challenges to building a health sector workforce in Samoa and strategies to mitigate these factors, the envisioning of a teaching hospital and the role of assessment standards and practices in the development of high quality programmes and graduates. 

This workshop was the first action item required from the external review of the medical curriculum conducted in July 2017. 

The programme was facilitated by high ranking academics from abroad which included Dr. Indrajit Hazarika from the W.H.O. regional office in Manilla, Professor David Perez from the University of Otago, and Professor Alec Ekeroma from the University of Auckland. 

Local facilitators were the Dean and senior lecturers of the Faculty of Health Sciences.  

The University and Faculty of Health Sciences acknowledge the W.H.O. Representative to Samoa, Dr. Rasul Bahgirov and the W.H.O. regional office in Manilla for the continuous support. 

Gratitude is also extended to Professors David Perez and Alec Ekeroma for the never ending assistance provided towards the development of the medical curriculum and for building the capacity of local staff. 

The University and Faculty of Health Sciences are constantly making little steps in the development of the faculty and in particular the medical school for the current and future health workforce of Samoa.

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