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Professor Aiono hopes Queen's award inspires students

The Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), Professor Aiono Alec Ekeroma, hopes his recent Queen’s Birthday Honours award will inspire local students.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Professor Aiono said he was proud of his award being announced on June 1, which coincided with Samoa’s 58th independence day celebrations. 

"It is just coincidence that the award was announced on Samoa's Independence day which is also the Queen's birthday in New Zealand. I feel very proud and privileged to receive such an award," he said. 

"I want to inspire the students because if I can do it, why can't he? It doesn't have to be a Queen's Honour award but it's for them to go out and learn as much as they can, get their qualifications and give back to the community. Even if it's little as long as they are able to give back.”

Professor Aiono also acknowledged the contribution of those whom he worked with in order to attain the award, which he said was ultimately the result of the work of teams or groups.

"I would like to add that the award is actually the work of many, who have teamed with me over the years so I didn't work individually on the many many projects I did,” he added. “There were teams of very capable and unselfish people, who have given up their time and their talents to advise, mentor and to do projects.”

According to a citation, which was published together with the announcement of the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honors on the New Zealand Prime Minister’s website, Professor Aiono has been a leader in Pacific people’s health for more than 20 years and has been active in the development of medical services in primary health care for Pacific women.

“Professor Aiono played a leading role in initiating the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2001, of which he is the current CEO. It is now the foremost organisation for the professional development of doctors, nurses and midwives in the Pacific region. He has produced 51 academic publications, primarily focusing on the health of Pacific women and health capacity building in the Pacific region,” the citation states.

“He founded the Pacific Journal of Reproductive Health in 2015 and is Chief Editor. He was on the Board of Well Pacific Mother and Infant Services from 2010 to 2012, Ta Pacifica Primary Health Organisation from 2006 to 2012, and Southseas Healthcare Trust from 2004 to 2008. 

“He has been a member of the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology since 2002, including as the Chairman of the New Zealand branch from 2006 to 2007. He served on the National Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee from 2010 to 2014. Professor Aiono has supported hundreds of medical students and trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology since 1998.”

Professor Aiono was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services  to health and the Pacific Community. 

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