The 6th Annual Bilateral Health Summit
INDEPENDENT STATE OF SAMOA AND AMERICAN SAMOA
The 6th Annual Bilateral Health Summit between Samoa and American Samoa was held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Apia, Samoa on November 11 to 12, 2015. This is a continuation of bilateral annual health talks between Samoa and American Samoa held since 2010. The talks continue to recognise the unique similarities between the two island nations such as their shared history, ethnic and cultural values, ecology, natural resources and geographic proximity that present opportunities for development.
The Bilateral Health Summit which was co-hosted by the Government of Samoa and the World Health Organization (WHO), notably recognised the importance of continuously strengthening our partnerships with Health and Non Health Sector Partners, Public Bodies, Private Sector, Non Government Organizations, Civil Societies, Community Based Organisations and Faith Based Organisations through harnessing the opportunities presented through utilisation of the Samoan Way.
The theme of the two day meeting was “Sustaining Partnerships in Health – The Samoan Way”. The main objective primarily focused on “How the Health Post-2015 Bilateral Agenda is taking into consideration the 2013 Apia Outcome and the 2014 S.A.M.O.A Pathway”. This looked into taking stock of progress, challenges, opportunities and identifying room for further improvements in national performance, focussing on Joint Contribution to make a difference; and grounding the developments of the Annual Bilateral Health Summits.
Reverend Utufua Naseri (Apia EFKS) set the scene of the day by referring to partnerships in his guiding sermon as “Three is always better than two or one”. “E filitolu le maea fa’atasi ma le Atua”, placing emphasis on all partnerships to be guided and built upon God’s will and grace. In that with God’s guidance and spirit in all development efforts and partnership pacts, anything is possible and will be provided for.
The Prime Minister Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi in his keynote speech reminded the forum that clear guidance is expected from the two days of deliberations, founded on informed lifestyle choices for maintaining health and well-being. As leaders, everyone is obligated to our future generations to guarantee sustainable development and sustainable partnerships grounded in health system strengthening founded on Health Promotion and Primary Health Care. The Summit included notable presentations on the Double/Triple Burden of NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases) and CDs (Communicable Diseases) requiring the engagement of political will in both countries, as well as Health and the Law, Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases (Red Eye, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever Outbreaks), Multi-Sector Approach and Quality Assurance.
The Outcome Communiqué documented and agreed to after the two day summit was signed by the American Samoa Director Dept. of Health, Mr Motusa Tuileama Nua and Samoa’s Director General of Health, Leausa Toleafoa Dr Take Naseri.
The Communiqué notes that the two Samoas will remain committed:
- to recognising the triple burden of disease on our health systems being NCDs, CDs including neglected tropical diseases together with the impact of climate change and to prioritize addressing these health issues in both our island countries;
- to the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to strategic collaboration which promotes a holistic approach to development and leads to a meaningful and lasting impact at all levels of action. This must incorporate the nurturing of working relationships based on trust, mutual respect, open communication and an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses;
- to share and exchange information, experiences and knowledge and the need to strengthen our Health Information Systems Management to ensure accuracy, quality and timely information for effective and efficient planning and decision making;
- to ensuring high quality health services, systems and processes, including an effective system for managing health consumer complaints; and
- to addressing the challenges in relation to effective water and sanitation management.
In moving forward, the two countries aim:
- to continue to be the foundation in building partnership and collaboration between our two countries and as a basis for annual reporting on implementation progress, including management, mitigation and control on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Communicable Diseases (CDs), and any other issues agreed upon;
- to ensure Health in All Policies. This will place emphasis on the need to have Health in All Policies. This will place emphasis on the need to encourage the recognition of health issues and challenges in all relevant laws and sector policies as health and human development is central to all economic and social development efforts;
- that the role of law in health is central to enduring an enabling environment to quality health services at all levels and in all settings;
- to continue to use these opportunities to share clinical and preventive experiences for diseases;
- to share information on the progress of the WHO PEN, as adapted by Samoa’s PEN FaaSamoa, and values and health benefits and ensure quality and safety;
- that the two countries are committed to the Samoan Way as the founding principle on which all partnerships are based.
The Summit was attended by close to 120 people with 56 from American Samoa. The delegation from American Samoa included Senators, members of the House of Representative, Directors of Health/Education/Land Grant and Energy, Secretary of Samoa Affairs, doctors, nurses, Environmental Health Officers and other health professionals.