Miss Pacific Islands looks to promote health
Reigning Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa, Fonoifafo Mcfarland-Seumanu, has vowed to use the two platforms to promote health messages targeting the community.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer following an ava ceremony hosted by the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.) to mark her return, following her crowning as Miss Pacific Islands, she said participating in the Government’s mass vaccination programme last December was an eye-opener.
Fonoifafo, who returned to Samoa early December after her crowning in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby, immediately joined nursing colleagues from the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) in the mass vaccination exercise.
Speaking of her experience on the frontlines, she said: “It really helped me develop a deeper passion for my people and for my career to see where I was able to be of use.”
Working as a nurse in New Zealand before her crowning, Fonoifafo said she used to vaccinate children in Auckland, but her work during the measles epidemic gave her insights on how she can use her public profile to reach out to the community.
“I’m hoping that through my participation in this pageant and through my reign, people will be more inclined to listening and digesting the health messages,” she said.
Discussions have already begun with Samoa’s M.O.H. and the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.), on promotional messages highlighting the importance of vaccines and preventable diseases, she added.
When questioned on whether there is a need for an inquiry into the measles epidemic, Fonoifafo said the people needed answers to some of the questions they have been asking, about the deadly outbreak.
“It is important as a country to answer some of the questions that our people are facing right now,” she added.
Fonoifafo believes both the Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa platforms can be used to promote the importance of health during her reign this year.
“Last week has all been about planning and understanding what differentiates the role of Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa. And I’ve come to understand that there is a lot more responsibility and the schedule will be a lot busier.
Her 2020 programme includes travel throughout the region, but during the time she is in Samoa, she wants to work alongside the M.O.H. promoting health messages and awareness.