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6 September 2016

The 11th Pacific Islands Surgeons Association (PISA) conference was officially opened in Apia this morning by Minister of Health, Afioga Tuitama Leao Dr Talalelei Tuitama.

Afioga Tuitama in his address welcomed the participants and reiterated on the theme of the global Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, ‘leaving no one behind’, in ensuring healthy lifestyles and well-being for all.

“My message is simple: ‘Measure value, but not value measure’. What is of substance and meaningful for us in the Pacific should be the guiding force to steer our direction.

“Lets focus on the realities of our health systems in the Pacific to better understand our directions in health.”

Tuitama said with surgical care, more drastic steps are needed to address major constraints in human resource capacities, the lack of appropriate medical equipment and professional developments to upskill for required competencies and development of notable surgical specialized areas.”

Tuitama also said that national development plans in the region have long recognised that our people health and sustainable development are interdependent and socio-economic wellbeing is in synergy with our cultural mores and values.

The conference theme is ‘Pacific Surgery – Directions and Indicators’, which Tuitama said speaks volume for the status of our surgical field in the Pacific and the fact that we need to develop, guide, direct and own our direction in the next fifty years.

“It is about ensuring that indicators chosen will help to answer key policy and implementation questions and enable forward planning for health and development.”

Director-General of Health, Afioga Leausa Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri said this is the Pacific Talanoa Forum.

“It must be understanding of the present, but in tune with the vitality of our past, in order to realize what is best for the future of our Pacific people in health,” said Leausa.

“This is the main conference point in our view, which is typically established to ground the beginning of this new journey especially for the young aspiring generation of Pacific surgeons.”

He also added that Samoa’s developments in health is strategically guided in general by the 2014 SIDS outcome document, the SAMOA Pathway.

He also mentioned that the shortage of surgeons in Samoa and the Pacific is known, and should be well acknowledged and resolved.

“This conference is the response to bringing to the fore most of these issues and we should be more proactive and creative in our call.”

PISA President, Lord Viliami Tangi in his remarks acknowledged the hosting by Samoa of the conference and praised the development of Samoa’s health sector.

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Her Excellency Jackie Frizelle in her address assured her country’s continuous assistance for  this conference.

The programme for this week includes presentations from representatives around the Pacific.

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