New Minister of Health ready for challenge

The woman, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has entrusted with the health of the nation remains positive, and believes nothing is impossible.

The new Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, takes over from former Health Minister, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, who has been handed the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development portfolio.

The reshuffle was announced following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Faimalotoa said her professional background might not have been in the health sector but she is a strong believer in placing her faith in God and asking him for directions.

She said she was not taken by surprise by the change, adding that Prime Minister Tuilaepa makes changes as he sees fit.

“I wasn’t shocked, I’m used to changes,” she told the Samoa Observer.

“Whatever you are tasked to do, you give it your all and your best. When the Prime Minister made the changes, I felt that nothing is impossible if you stick to God and ask him for help.

“We are not perfect but God guides us through all and I’m ready to take on the challenge.”

The new Minister of Health admits that she is neither a doctor nor a nurse and taking on the portfolio is not an easy task.

However she believes she has the skills to manage the health sector.

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“I’m not a doctor, true,” she said.

“Doctors and nurses are there and they are the professionals. They are the ones that provide medical services for the good health of the nation but I can manage and collect ideas by sitting down with people and working together with them. And like I said, nothing is impossible with God’s guidance.”

While there are several areas the government is keen to develop, Faimalo is acutely aware that health tops the priority.

She drew the contrast with education saying that while it is crucial, health is paramount.

“You can survive if your education is not good but if you are sick it affects your surrounding,” she said. “So it’s very important to be healthy and when you are also educated that is the key to success.”

The Minister said while she is sad to leave the Ministry of Women, she is comforted with the thought that the partnerships established with villages during her time there will be of great help in her new role.

Faimalo said that the relationships formed from meeting village councils, women representatives and committees will be used when they will eventually go out to advocate for the Ministry of Health’s work.

“I am happy that I will be taking that partnership I had with the villages with me and will make work easy with my new role because it (health) is a service for our people and that is the key thing is to provide the best service for our people.”

Lastly Faimalo commended the outgoing Minister of Health, Tuitama, for the work done.

She said she does not intend to make any major changes but will make changes where it is necessary.

It’s early days and the new Minister of Health said she will need to meet with the people of the Ministry and from there she will set out the priorities.

The change becomes effective on Monday.

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