Govt. announces new plan for MedCen Hospital

By Soli Wilson 23 December 2020, 11:00PM

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has announced plans to reuse the old MedCen hospital facility at Vailima for a partnership between the Government and private hospitals in India.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa confirmed that specialists from private hospitals in India, Apollo and Fortes, will reside in Samoa and provide the needed specialist medical treatment to residents using the facility.

The plan comes nearly two years after the Government bought out MedCen Hospital from the Development Bank of Samoa, who had been trying to sell the property for a some time.

The Government has revealed that the facility will be used as Specialist Referral Center, and they are hoping it will become a regional hub for specialised medical treatment.

Indian hospitals, Apollos and Fortes, have operated on more than 50 Samoans who had travelled to India for special treatment.

Tuilaepa said the plan reflects a hard working Government that is committed to helping her people.

“It reflects and reaffirms the government’s priority to seek and secure all possible specialised medical treatment which is not available on island for our people,” Tuilaepa told the Savali newspaper.

“For cost effective purposes, part of the partnership will also see medical specialists from India based in Samoa to up skill our medical practitioners. At the same time, the specialists from New Delhi will perform surgery on-island and share their valuable hands on experience with our local doctors.

On average, Government spends between $10 to $15 million tala a year to send citizens overseas for specialised treatment mostly in New Zealand.

“Having said that, one of the components in our partnership is for Samoa to be used as a regional hub for specialised medical treatment which is also not available in our neighbouring islands such as Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Tonga to name a few,” Tuilaepa said.

The Prime Minister said the MedCen Specialists Referral Hospital will “soon” become a reality.

“It’s that while the doctors from India are on island, patients from our neighbours can also come to Samoa for treatment. That without a doubt will reflect huge savings in terms of air fares and related expenses for the patient and their families,” Tuilaepa said.

This comes after the Government made more than half a million talā as a final payment to the Development Bank of Samoa in January 2019 as recorded in the First Supplementary Estimates for 2018-2019.

Following this transaction, the MedCen hospital was taken over by Government as a “permanent asset”.

MedCen is Pacific’s first private hospital located in Samoa. In 2011 it encountered financial problems and never recovered, which lead to its shut down soon after.

Since then, the multi-million 2.12 acre lot has been on the market for years – initially advertised by the Development Bank of Samoa and then the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

By Soli Wilson 23 December 2020, 11:00PM

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