Students awarded "Tuilaepa-O.U.M" scholarships to study medicine

The Oceania University of Medicine (O.U.M.) has offered four local students with scholarships to study medicine.

This was confirmed by the University's Vice Chancellor, Toleafoa Dr. Viali Lameko in an interview with Samoa Observer.

The cost of one full 'Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi-O.U.M. Scholarship' is A$130,000 which is equivalent to T$235,750.27.

“O.U.M. is a development partner in both education and health sector because we produce doctors and it is also an education institution,” he said.

“We only fund the tuition which costs, AUSD $130,000 which is equivalent to SAT $235,750.27.

“This is our contribution to Samoa and we hope all these students will graduate and help our health sector. So far, there are 10 local students studying in O.U.M.

“The scholarship was named after our Prime Minister to honor and recognise the establishment of O.U.M. in Samoa in the year 2002.”

Toleafoa added that one of the requirements to qualify for the scholarship is to have a degree.

According to one of the scholarship holders, Jurieaster Taulagi, she said that it is a blessing to be given the opportunity to study medicine through the O.U.M.

“After graduating with Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science from Fiji National University, I came home and worked at the laboratory at Moto’otua Hospital but my end game was always to be a doctor.

“I am very blessed and humbled by this chance to pursue my dream. It is because of the lack of doctors; overseas medical professionals arrived to aid our people. I want to be someone that will make a difference.”

The 24-year-old from Tulaele said she wants to help her country in the health sector.

Another successful applicant, Lilly Lameko from Alafua, said that it has always been her goal and passion to become a doctor.

“Having a medical scholarship is a big opportunity. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Physiology from Otago University," she said. "The reason behind my passion of wanting to become a doctor is because my grandparents and family members died because of late diagnosis."

“It motivated me to pursue my career but also I want to take care of my family especially my parents. If I am able to graduate and get that degree I would definitely give back to my country aid the shortage of medical doctors here."

She said that the scholarship is a rare opportunity because it is close to home and is sponsored.

A second year scholarship student, Mathew Siliga Amituanai, also supported the scholarship opportunity and described the program as  exceptional.

He holds a Bachelor in Physiotherapy from Otago University. 

“Being a second year student is time consuming and that brings us back to the reason why you chose to study because that reason will be challenged every step of the way," he said. “I am doing this being my heart is in health in terms of providing help to those in need and this degree if I am able to attain it will benefit my career going forward and this degree will enable me to do post grad anywhere in the world.

“But like anything, there is always a challenge. Nothing really prepares you to what is in store when you do something for me it is not just the medical degree but also the logistics of life.”

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