New hospitals for rural Samoa

Saanapu and Falelatai are slated to have a new rural district hospital and doctor’s residence - and the Ministry of Health is calling for designers to offer the expressions of interest.

Two advertisements for consultants were posted in the the Government-owned newspaper Savali this week, with a deadline of Monday 23 March.

Funding to build the hospitals is from a World Bank grant and part of a non-communicable disease control programme.

On the south coast of Upolu, Sa’anapu and Falelatai (which are 24 kilometres apart) are at least an hour away from the nearest District Hospitals.

Sa’anapu is half an hour’s drive from either Leulumoega District Hospital and Poutasi District Hospital , and further west Falelati is half an hour from Leulumoega but over an hour away Poutasi. 

The advertisements state the Government is placing its policy focus on publish health, and hope to strengthen the health system by improving rural infrastructure.

Having two more rural hospitals is hoped to improve surveillance and referral systems for non-communicable diseases, which are responsible for majority of premature death in Samoa.

Across Samoa, there are two large referral hospitals (Tupua Tamasese Meole on Upolu and Malietoa Tanumafili II in Savaii), six district hospitals and four health centres (in Poutasi, Lalomanu,Leulumoega, Safotu, Sataua, Foailalo, Faleolo, Saanapu, Lufilufi  and Satupaitea. 

They are predominantly staffed by nurses, and most have visiting doctors that attend one day a week rather than stay on site full time.

The advertisement to build a doctors residence with the new hospitals suggests the Ministry is looking to staff the Sa’anapu and Falelatai areas with a full time doctor, something currently just Leulumoega District Hospital has.

Under the M.O.H. Health Sector Plan 2020-2030, the hope is for every district hospital to have a fulltime doctor within five to ten years, with the main referral hospitals continuing to employ a range of specialists and General Practitioners.

Update: Place names have been corrected. 

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