Taulasea for Health Director General?
Member of Parliament for Anoama’a West, Lauofo Fonotoe Meredith, yesterday pointed to the eligibility criteria for the Director General of the Ministry of Health.
This is outlined in the proposed Health merge bill tabled and discussed in Parliament yesterday.
Lauofo was particularly interested on the part, which lists people who qualify to apply for the position – which includes Samoan traditional healers (taulasea) among other health professionals.
Lauofo commended the Government for affording the opportunity to traditional healers to apply for such a prestigious position.
But this did not sit well with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who called the suggestion a “stupid idea”.
Tuilaepa said a taulasea could never become the Director General because there are clear guidelines about the qualifications for a Director General.
Lauofo said there was no need for the Prime Minister to be upset as he was merely pointing to the list that is on the bill.
“It is not a suggestion on my part as these health care professionals are outlined under the proposed measure,” he said.
“The Prime Minister said it’s a stupid suggestion; when it is not. The health care professionals I called out are in the bill.”
The Prime Minister again interjected, noting that when it comes to one’s eligibility for any position, there is always the aspect of "common sense."
“Do not worry,” he told Fonotoe, “whenever Cabinet receives a panel decision on a certain position, thirteen people will scrutinize this decision and we will make the decision accordingly.”
He was referring to himself and his Cabinet Ministers.
The Bill before Parliament seeks to amend the Ministry of Health Act 2006 and repeal the National Health Services Act 2014.
It proposes to regulate the additional functions, roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Health.
It will also give the Ministry new responsibilities, functions and duties – due to the merger of the healthcare services and the administration – of the health service.
Furthermore, the bill seeks to provide for the functions, roles and responsibilities of a Director General and Deputy Director General of Health. The bill also gives effect to the transfer of the role of the National Health Service to the Ministry of Health.
In Parliament yesterday, the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, noted that $26 million from the World Bank would be used to fund the merge.