Dentist aiming higher with Australian scholarship

A Samoan dentist hopes to improve his clinical skills by pursuing a masters degree in dentistry at the University of Melbourne in June this year. 

The Australian High Commission in Samoa, in a post on its Facebook page, highlighted recent recipients of higher education scholarships.

Dentist Dr. Ralphen Viane was among those chosen to receive funding to pursue further education in Australia. 

“One of my main goals is to help improve clinical research, which will be based on medical-dental reports of medically complex cases that are regularly reported,” he said.

“There are a lot of reports [of] oral health problems or oral manifestations linked to diseases, such as Non-Communicable Diseases, rheumatic heart infection, and more."

“I feel this research will greatly assist in the evolution of Dentistry not only in Samoa but throughout the Pacific.”

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Dr. Viane is currently a dentist at the Ministry of Health at Motootua.

He shared his goals for pursuing further study at one of Australia's most prestigious universities. He discussed the possibilities for the advancement of the dentistry profession with Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty.

Australia’s bilateral partnership with the Government of Samoa includes initiatives dedicated to developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce in Samoa in key priority areas identified by the Government. 

Ms. Moriarty encouraged scholarship recipients to make the most of their time in Australia and to study hard.

“You are the future leaders of Samoa, you chosen few. The skills you learn will support the development of your families and villages and country,” she said.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, who is also the Chair of the Scholarships Committee, told scholarship recipients that there is no doubt they will face challenges and distractions in the course of their time overseas.

“The environment will be unfamiliar, the guidance from families will seem a little distant, the queue to find help may seem endless but doors will be opened to those who persistently knock and help services and opportunities are available," he said.

He thanked the Governments of Australia and New Zealand as well as other key development partners such as Japan and China; the Commonwealth Secretariat; the World Health Organisation and the United Kingdom for their continued support and assistance.

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