Three new Master's programmes for N.U.S.

The National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) School of Medicine will be growing its course portfolio with several new higher education offerings in the works.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) this week, Vice Chancellor Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma said there are three new Master’s programmes being developed in partnership with M.O.H. and the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.).

He said N.U.S. and W.H.O. are developing a Master’s in Public Health and Master’s in Primary Health Care, which he hopes will already be available from 2022.

Alongside the M.O.H. department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the university is developing the curriculum for a Master’s in Medicine, specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

And in two weeks, the Samoa Qualifications Authority will be making a site visit of the School of Medicine, an important step in the process of getting national accreditation for the school.

“This is stepping stone for the school of medicine to progress towards international recognition,” Aiono said.

“The university will continue to strive to develop higher degrees to support doctors and other health professionals.”

He also shared how the Government of Japan is supporting the university with a T$25 million investment in a new campus building and refurbishing the existing site.

New medical equipment, also sponsored by Japan, should be arriving in two weeks, he added. 

The growing medical school is part of Samoa’s plan to keep its medical expertise on island. Doctors often have to travel abroad to train in specialities, especially those the country desperately needs.

Instead, N.U.S. hopes to offer as many training opportunities as possible locally, so that doctors can stay close.

The head of the School of Medicine, Dr. Filipina Amosa-Lei Sam said on Monday that meanwhile, with doctors will having to travel for study, they need all the help they can get while on that journey.

“It depends enormously on the Government, and on the number of scholarships that are offered, and for the Ministry to open up to supporting doctors who want to go on training and receive salary adjustments according to the level of qualification that they will acquire,” she said.

“I believe this is the only way for the government to retain qualified doctors who have earned specialisation in various areas of medicine.”

The N.U.S School of Medicine was founded in 2014 and so far 34 students have graduated. The most recent graduates, now full time house surgeons and interns at the National Hospital, are three 26-year-old doctors.

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