Samoan lands top role in Otara Health

A proud Samoan woman, Magele Sosefina Paletoaga, has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) for Otara Health.

After years of working as an educator, Ms. Paletoaga switched her career to leading a health organisation that aims to provide for the needs of the communities.

In an interview with Tagata Pasifika, Ms. Paletoaga said she’s determined to serve the needs of Pacific families through Covid-19 and beyond.

“My role as CEO is to lead. I lead a wonderful organisation, Otara Health and we provide health promotions and social services to the communities,” she said.

“Growing up in Otara, having a great family and strong Samoan heritage that prepared me and then my career as I mentioned for what wad to come but I didn’t know that teaching was preparing me for a pandemic.”

According to the newly appointed C.E.O, changing her career was inspired by her motivation of getting back to her community as she saw the needs of the people just as important as it was with education.

“The need for health outcomes was great for our motive in Pacific communities and an opportunity to serve my community and to give back to the people of Otara who have given so much to me,” she added.

“You read the papers, you watch the news, you see things happening around you and you think, what can I do?”

Learning about the history of the Spanish Influenza which took out majority of the Samoan population, Paletoaga and Otara Health looks at the influenza’s fatality figures for encouragement in their work.

“Because we knew from history, Spanish influenza took out 20 percent of the Samoan population and twenty percent of five million is one million,’ she said.

“And if that happened here, that’s what we’re looking at. Those are the sort of figures and we knew our community were at risk.”

“We’re vulnerable so we did not and growing up in a big family myself, we knew that we needed to get the testing done .”

The Otara Health is working in collaboration with the South Seas and according to the C.E.O, it’s a great opportunity to broader their service for the communities.

A part of Otara’s promising work has tested over 2500 people as well as the need for a satellite feedback which Otara Health has set up to assist the families.

“What we’ve seen is the sacrificial giving and the generosity even when we don’t have much and then the resilience through this pandemic,” she said.

The proud Samoan also taught at Aorere College in Auckland.

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