Ministry takes health programme to the villages

Samoa still has a long way to go in order to reach the global Health Sustainable Development Goal by 2030.

This is according to Fa'alagilagi Polataivao-Dean of the Ministry of Health during the Ministry's community outreach programmes in Lalomanu.

The Ministry of Health together with its shareholders celebrated World Health Day on Friday under the global theme of "Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere".

Through it's Integrated Community Health Approach Program (I.C.H.A.P.), Ms. Polataivao-Dean said from health screenings they did in most of the districts, the people are nowhere near knowing how to take care of themselves. 

"If we look at our health S.D.G. goal for 2030, up to now, people are still yet to learn how to best take care of their health. That’s why the hospital is always full and that’s why the Ministry has pushed for the programme to be mobilised to the rural villages so that we can encourage them."

A staff of the Ministry, Aaone Tanumafili, said I.C.H.A.P. has been going on for four years with the aim of integrating all health services and stakeholders with health aspects to their agenda and bringing healthcare to where the people are.

"The Integrated Health Approach Program is basically not just integrating all health issues together so that it can be delivered as one message to the community but also integrating our stakeholders together, those who have health aspects to their roles and responsibilities," she said.

The Ministry's stakeholders for I.C.H.A.P. include Young Women Christian Association of Samoa (Y.W.C.A.), Samoa National Youth Council (S.N.Y.C.), Samoa Fa'afafine Association (S.F.A.), Samoa AIDs Foundation (S.A.F.), Teen Challenge Samoa, Samoa Family Health Association (S.F.H.A.), and Samoa Red Cross Society (S.R.C.S.).

Aaone said the screenings that were ongoing allow people who don't have access to healthcare services to take advantage of the services brought to them. 

"So instead of having that in the hospital facilities, were taking it out with I.C.H.A.P. to the communities because not everyone has access to healthcare every now and then. 

"So bringing PEN into I.C.H.A.P. is very crucial as well to know a brief profile of these areas participating, whether there is a lot of people with diabetic issues or a lot of people with hypertension issues or overweight and obesity issues, which are issues that we really need to extract from this process and then we design more programs to counter those issues for the long run," she told this newspaper.

Speaking to a few stakeholders, they all seem to have had the same expectation of seeing a younger audience, but nonetheless the presenters said the participating numbers overall was good.

Ms. Tanumafili said they expected to see a lot of young people but mainly those who turned up were between 30-60 years old, which was also good.

"But these programmes are very crucial to inform their (youth) decisions on how to be healthy and what to do and what not to do because those are the people who will look after their families in the long run," said .

Mona Tugaga of Y.W.C.A. Samoa shared similar comments highlighting the importance of these programmes for stakeholders.

"Even though the attendance of young women is very little, it’s good that through I.C.H.A.P. we are reaching out to their parents, so it’s been very good," she said.

"Good to broaden our capacity out in the communities, because at some point it’s kind of hard to get into the communities as individual organizations and reach young women.

"As well as giving the opportunity to our members to present in front of a community but this is a development strategy for us, by building networks in the community, so that when we want to come again, we can again link with the same stakeholder bodies in carrying out more programs," she added.

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