Ingenuity, local solutions and developments to be proud of

Samoa is certainly keeping up with the changing times. Two of the biggest developments opened in this country this week point to the fact that as a small country, we are moving in the right direction when it comes to finding critical local solutions to some of our most pressing problems today.

The first critical development is the Biodiscovery Centre at the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S). Officially opened on Tuesday by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, the Government-funded project is designed to develop local cures for some of the most serious diseases crippling the health of this nation – including non-communicable diseases and cancer.

“According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and our National health Statistics confirms the same trend for Samoa,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa pointed out.

“There is also a world-wide effort to combat antimicrobial resistance, a major health concern resulting from the high incidence of antibiotic resistant microorganisms.  

“Similarly, there has been a steady rise in statistics for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, which is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputations.  The social and economic impacts of these health issues in Samoa are therefore significant and increasing, and proving to be a heavy burden on government resources.”

Tuilaepa couldn’t have said it better.

But there is good news. The Biodiscovery Centre is part of a local effort – using local scientists – to attempt to find our own solutions. And sometimes this is perhaps one of the best ways forward. We need to find tailor-made solutions to some of these issues. Which is precisely what the Biodisovery Centre promises to do.

“The Centre provides an opportunity for Samoa to lead and carry out its own bio-medicinal discoveries, encouraged by an increasing understanding that locally sought solutions are highly beneficial to development efforts,” Tuilaepa said. “These types of research have the potential to put Samoa on the map as a Pacific leader in realising the potential of natural resources, as well as contribute positively to addressing significant health issues plaguing our country and its people.

“In addition, the outcomes from this work can also guide our environmental sector in identifying plants of scientific relevance for conservation and propagation efforts.”

This is wonderful. Who wouldn’t be proud of such a development?

A few kilometres up the road at Vailima, another critical development not just for Samoa but for the Pacific region was officially opened yesterday.

The Pacific Climate Change Centre (P.C.C.C.) located inside the compound of the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) is a milestone in efforts to address the impact of climate change, which has already been identified as the biggest threat of our time.

Speaking at the opening, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said: “In order for us as Pacific peoples to take control of our own path in this fight, we need to build capacity and institutions for knowledge, training, networking and research.

“This will ensure Pacific tailored solutions to address our own adaptation needs and mitigation priorities.”

But the benefits extend far beyond local solutions. For instance, according Tagaloa Cooper-Halo, Director of Climate Change Resilience at S.P.R.E.P, the Centre will attract many climate change professionals to Samoa.

“It’s exciting because it’s ours, it’s the Pacific’s,” she said. “It’s not us going to countries to visit these places.”

Another key role for the Centre is what has been identified as “knowledge brokerage.”

“When we talk about brokerage it is about gauging the need of the sector, seeing what information we have and how it can support that sector. If I don’t know the answer to something, I will often know who you can speak to,” explained Tagaloa.

The benefits of course go far beyond the experts and what they can share.

The P.C.C.C. will be a hub of knowledge and information about climate change so that even students and children have the opportunity to be informed and learn from some of the best minds in the world. This is fantastic.

And the best part about it is that it is located right here in Samoa, where we all have the opportunity to benefit from the services they offer. Wonderful stuff, simply wonderful. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Have a great Friday Samoa, God bless!

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