Samoa’s first qualified paramedic returns to serve

Samoa’s first qualified paramedic Apelu Sauoaiga Kaio has returned and is back with the Fire and Emergency Services Authority to serve the country.

The 34-year-old from the villages of Satupaitea, Vailoa Palauli and Faleasiu created history when he became the first Samoan to receive specialist training in paramedicine.

He graduated from Australia’s Victoria University with a bachelor's degree and has just returned to the country following the completion of his three-year undergraduate study program.

Mr Kaio was a recipient of an Australian Awards Scholarship funded by the Australian government, which enabled him to undertake his studies at the Victoria University in Melbourne.

Last Friday the Australian High Commission hosted a welcome back reception in Apia for all its Australian Awards Scholarship who completed their studies last year.

In a speech at the reception, Mr Kaio thanked the Samoan and Australian governments for ensuring he along with many other Samoan students were safe during the pandemic whilst away from home.

“In my final year, the world was hit by the pandemic […] the Australian Government and Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade monitored us closely and ensured that I along with other foreign students didn’t suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and we got home safe,” he said.

“Thank you Australia Awards for the kind support and for ensuring our safety during that time. 

“Your scholarship has opened the doors for a brighter future and has played a key role in shaping me into a successful person.”

During his studies in Melbourne, Mr Kaio also did clinic placements through Ambulance Victoria – which runs the Australian state’s ambulance service – in metropolitan and rural areas.

Mr Kaio worked as an emergency medical response commanding officer at the F.E.S.A. prior to going to Australia for studies for three years.

“I am very happy to be home safe and ready to serve my country to the best of my ability and provide knowledge acquired from the ‘Land Down Under’,” he added.

“I would like to acknowledge and give my sincere appreciation to the Australian government which allowed me to make my lifelong dreams of becoming a paramedic come true.

“Thank you to my employers to the Commissioner, the Board of Samoa Fire and Emergency Services Authority for their support to allow me to go on study leave for three years.”

During his studies, Mr. Kaio had the opportunity to assess pre-hospital patients, perform clinical procedures as well as administer medication under the supervision of a clinical instructor.

He said this gave him the connections to the industry courtesy of Victoria University to apply theory in a practical setting.

Mr Kaio hopes to share his theoretical and clinical knowledge with his first responders team at the F.E.S.A. as part of the Samoa Government organisation’s capacity building programme.

During the event last Friday the Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty and the High Commission’s Program Manager, Ariane Stevenson commended the 2020 Australia Awards graduates on persevering through a global pandemic to finish their studies in Australia. 

Mr Kaio is the son of Taugamalie Lafoialeatataotaulelei Satomai and Sauoaiga Asiata Talafu Kaio.

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