Samoa Medical Association celebrates

“Ana’ana e auauna” – Serve with Commitment, Compassion and Dedication: the revitalised vision of the Samoa Medical Association as it celebrated 70 years of diligent medical services for the people of Samoa 

With joyous thanksgiving and praiseto God, the Samoa Medical Association (S.M.A.) commemorated a milestone anniversary last week with much zeal, gratitude and aspiration. 

The 70th anniversary was celebrated over seven days, from the 26th May  to the 1st June 2017, with stimulating discussions, numerous social events, and meaningful reflections upon what has been achieved, where we are currently and the ambitions we hold for the future of the S.M.A., our workforce and health care services in Samoa. 

Background of the S.M.A.

Over the last 70 years, the S.M.A. has served as the foremost health professional organisation undertaking advocacy and capacity building for local and visiting doctors in Samoa. During this time, the association has seen well over two hundred doctors join as members and has been crucial to the advancement of health in Samoa through measures taken to improve doctors working conditions, capacity, skills and knowledge. With growing numbers of graduates in medicine from the National University of Samoa Faculty of Medicine and the Fiji National University (F.N.U.), the SMA has grown exponentially. This growth together with the achievements of years past and the efforts laid down by the founding members of the S.M.A. was celebrated and emphasised throughout the 70th anniversary festivities. 

Smoke-Free Samoa S.M.A. Leadership Golf Tournament

Anniversary activities teed off on the 26th May with a leadership golf tournament under the theme SMOKE FREE SAMOA – SMA LEADERS TAKE LEAD. The qualities, skills and sportsmanship of golf were used to model the characteristics and virtues of good leaders. This was followed by a captivating talk by one of Samoa’s prominent businessmen, cultural leader and musician, Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale, who challenged our young doctors to serve with diligence and integrity, and to hold true to our solemn Hippocratic Oath.

S.M.A. Fundraising Ball and the Inaugural Golden Coconut Awards

Our marquee event, the S.M.A. Fundraising Ball and Inaugural Golden Coconut Awards was held on Saturday the 27th of May. A night of fun and glamour, the S.M.A. red carpet did not disappoint. Attended by over 400 guests, the S.M.A. was overwhelmed with gratitude at the community support shown. The main attraction of the night was the inaugural S.M.A. Golden Coconut Awards recognising and honouring the tremendous efforts of individuals, businesses and organisations to promote, support and enhance the health of our people and communities. Extending beyond their usual vocation or business, the 2017 Golden Coconut Awards went to Pastor Lenny Solomona, Business Systems Limited and Project Paeds Samoa.

The S.M.A. thanksgiving church service was held at the Matafele Methodist Church on Sunday the 28th May with an uplifting spiritual message delivered by Rev. Taumafai Komiti.

70th Anniversary Social Events

Other social events held throughout the anniversary celebrations included: a cocktail hosted by the New Zealand High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. David C. Nicholson & Dr. Debbie Ryan at their residence in Vailima on the evening of Monday the 29th May, a formal dinner hosted by the Ministry of Health at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum on Tuesday 30th May, the annual S.M.A. A.G.M. Dinner held at Taumeasina Island Resort on Wednesday 31st May and finished off with the Independence Day March at Eleele Fou followed by brunch at Rendezvous Restaurant. 

SMA Annual General Meeting

Our well-attended S.M.A. Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.) was opened by Rev. Taumafai Komiti (Tausi Matagaluega Matafele & Failautusi Sinoti Apia Sasa’e, Ekalesia Metotisi i Samoa) with a devotional prayer and message, followed by the delivery of the keynote address and unveiling of the S.M.A. 70th anniversary commemorative plaque by the Honourable Prime Minister of Samoa, Susuga Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Fatialofa Auelua Aiono Naioti Galumalemana Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi. 

Welcoming remarks together with a report of achievements attained throughout the term 2016-2017 were conveyed by S.M.A. President 2016-2017 Namulauulu Dr. M Nuualofa Tuuau-Potoi and followed by the guest speaker Professor Peter Crampton’s address.

The mantle of the S.M.A. presidency for 2017-2018 was officially handed over to Lauano Dr. Herbert Peters by Namulauulu Dr. M. Nuualofa Tuuau-Potoi. 

The newly elected Executive Committee includes: Dr. Tanyamarie Petaia (President Elect), Su’a Dr. Sarah Brown-Ah Kau (Secretary), Dr. Cecilia Vaai-Bartley (Treasurer), Leituala Dr. Areta Samuelu (Assistant Secretary), Dr. Junior Posini (Assistant Treasurer) and Executive Members: Fuimaono Dr. Aleki Fuimaono, Pomau Dr. Pesa Une, Leniu Dr. Asaua Faasino, Leo’o Dr. John Adams, Leota Dr. Lisi Aiafi-Petaia (NZ Rep), Leafitaitu Dr. Jimmy Eteuati (Aust Rep).

S.M.A. Scientific Conference 

On Tuesday the 30th May, the coveted two-day SMA Scientific Conference for 2017 was launched with an unprecedented attendance which included a 30 strong overseas representation, with guests from Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.

Included among the guests were some of the S.M.A.’s senior overseas members: Dr. PJ Faumuina and Dr. Luatupu Ioane from New Zealand and Dr. Lautofa Pulotu from Papua New Guinea; in addition to a delegation from the New Zealand Samoa Nurse Leaders. 

The annual S.M.A. Scientific Conference is utilised as a platform to engage S.M.A. members and health sector leaders in important and evocative discussions encouraging information sharing and innovative idea generation. 

In light of recent government restrictions placed on post-graduate training for Samoan doctors in Fiji, the focus of this year’s annual general meeting and scientific conference centred on capacity building, health leadership and research. 

The 70th anniversary theme was adopted and enhanced from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (R.A.C.P.) 2016 congress and incorporates the S.M.A.’s vision of a sustainable and ever-improving health workforce, leadership and system.

Our 2017 theme – EVOLVE | EDUCATE | ENGAGE | EMPOWER | EVALUATE and slogan “Strengthening Foundations for a Healthier Samoa” emanates our dedication and commitment to building our clinical and professional capacity, furthering and improving our knowledge and clinical practice, and improving the health of Samoa.  

`With several local and overseas high-level health and other professionals in attendance, including aid partner representatives from NZAID, DFAT and the WHO Representative Dr. Rasul Baghirov, and significant representation of the University of Otago, with a delegation led by Professor Peter Crampton, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences and Dean of Otago Medical School, the climate was perfect for discussions on the potential avenues and models for post-graduate training of Samoan doctors in Samoa and overseas.

Other key discussion points included the revitalisation of primary health care and community integrated medicine, evolving movements in research and development, addressing the burden of infection in Samoa, the future of non-communicable disease diagnosis and management and taking a holistic Pacific approach to depression.

The Scientific Conference speakers for 2017 were:

• Professor David Murdoch (Dean University of Otago, Christchurch Campus)

• Associate Professor Faumuina Dr. Fa’afetai Sopoaga (Associate Dean Pacific Health, University of Otago)

• Dr. Malama Tafunai (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Samoa)

• Tuala Dr. Tile Ah Leong-Lui (Manager Primary Health Care, National Health Services)

• Dr. Debbie Ryan (Director, Pacific Perspectives, NZ)

• Associate Professor Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma (President Pacific Society for Reproductive Health, NZ)

• Dr. Dyxon Hansell (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Samoa)

• Toleafoa Dr. Viali Lameko (Vice-Chancellor Oceania University of Medicine)

• Tagaloa Auliaimalae Dr. Robert Thomsen (Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Quality Assurance & Perfomance, Medical & Allied, Ministry of Health

• Le Mamea Lemalu Dr. Limbo Fiu (Dean of Faculty of Medicine, National University of Samoa)

• Leausa Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri (Director General of Health & Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Health)

• Mrs. Margaret Misiolo-Fruen (Manager Human Resources, National Health Services)

• Poao Dr. Lamour Hansell (Consultant Anaesthesia, National Health Services)

• Dr. G Atropa Belladonna Potoi (Senior Registrar/Consultant Internal Medicine, National Health Services)

• Professor Asiata Dr. Satupaitea Viali (Cardiology Specialist)

• Associate Professor Dr. Beverly Lawton (Director Women’s Health Research Centre, University of Otago)

• Leota Dr. Lisi Aiafi-Petaia (Consultant Psychiatrist, Forensic Service, Waitemata DHB, Auckland, NZ)

• Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endermann (RPN, JP, MNZN, RCOG, Advanced Diploma Nursing, Health Sector Consultant)

• Professor Dr. Roger T. Mulder (University of Otago, Consultant Psychiatrist & Academic Researcher in Mental Health, Christchurch, NZ)

At the culmination of discussions, it was firmly emphasised that in order to achieve a sustainable and effective health system for the future, within the existing resource constraints, there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift at all levels of health care and planning, and a strategic investment in workforce development. In addition and perhaps more vitally, the innovative revitalisation of primary health care is considered fundamentally essential.

The SMA also strongly calls attention to the importance of further training and education of our medical workforce and emphasises that it is significantly crucial that strides are taken immediately to solidify a prospective plan for the post-graduate education and specialisation of Samoan doctors, in order to safely cater to the growing and diverse health needs of our population.

Vital to these advancements will be the strengthening of relationships, partnerships and collaborations amongst all key health stakeholders locally, nationally, regionally and globally as well as ensuring appropriate and sustainable finance mechanisms are in place. 


SMA 70th Anniversary Concluding Commitment

The SMA diligently commits to taking the lead as a dynamic partner in the advocacy of research, health workforce development and education, fostering strong engagements with our health and academic partners, as well as supporting and empowering positive change amongst the SMA membership and within the health system. Further to this, the SMA pledges to earnestly pursue and honour our truism Ana’ana e Auauna – to serve with diligence - our people, our communities and our country.


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