A new Orthotics and Prosthetics Workshop, through the Health Sector Wide Approach Program (SWAP), opened this morning at the National Health Services compound at Motootua.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi delivered the keynote address, noting that Government has made Health a key priority area for development, and Orthotics and Prosthetics services have been neglected for too long.
“This is part of a comprehensive infrastructure project for accessible, affordable and quality health services in Samoa.
“This new state-of-the-art building will ensure excellent care for patients with neuromuscular and skeletal problems, enabling them to move and function well, reducing pain,” said Tuilaepa.
“Patients with conditions of spinal bifida and cerebral palsy or have experienced a spinal cord injury or stroke, will benefit from this new improved facility.
“Simply put, this new facility will contribute higher standards of care for amputees, disabilities and people with deformities.”
The first Orthotics and Prosthetics Workshop was built in 1977 and was named the “Splint Unit”.
The new facility is going to be fully equipped and staffed by trained Orthotics technicians and some mobility services personnel.
Tuilaepa acknowledged the assistance from development partners.
“I wish to thank our Partners of SWAP, namely the World Bank and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. I thank you for your continuous support of our evolving needs in health, and your patience in our trials and challenges.”
Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Sue Langford, spoke on behalf of development partners and said people with disabilities make up the largest and most disadvantaged minority in the world.
“We know that around the world people with disabilities and their families are more likely to be poor and remain poor as a result of higher living costs, barriers to education, health and employment opportunities and unpaid caring responsibilities,” said Her Excellency.
Langford said that for people with mobility impairments – an appropriate wheelchair, walking cane or prosthetic limb can make a difference with opportunities for gainful employment, education and training, participating in community events and being a productive member of society.
“We are pleased to be working closely with New Zealand and the commitment under SWAP to build such a workshop. The opening of this building today is an excellent example of the results that can be achieved when donors work together to support the priorities of the Government of Samoa as set out in the Sector Plans.”
The building was constructed by Ca’Bella Pacific Construction Samoa Limited at the cost of $4.9 million tala. The design and supervision works were provided for by the New Zealand based Stevenson & Turner Firm, with its local consultant as in the Tinai & Gordon Associates firm.