Samoa Nurses Training Centre breaks ground on influenza’s 100th anniversary

PHOTO: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and New Zealand’s Acting High Commissioner, Nick Hurley breaking ground for the Samoa Nurses Training Centre on the celebration of the influenza pandemic’s 100th anniversary today

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 07 NOVEMBER 2018: A Nurses Training Centre to offer Post Graduate Nurses training through collaboration between Victoria University of New Zealand and the National University of Samoa broke ground today.

It is one tangible commitment to improving health services in Samoa as Samoa and New Zealand today remembered the 100 years of the influenza pandemic that killed 22% of Samoa’s population between 1918 and 1919.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and New Zealand’s Acting High Commissioner, Nick Hurley broke ground for the project after the memorial ceremonies at Vaimoso this morning and symbolically acknowledged the new Samoa Nurse Community Training Centre that will be located opposite the National Hospital at Moto’otua.

Tuilaepa said these are initiatives are towards a better health direction for Samoa, who has come a long way in developing methods to track, prevent and treat influenza, and still has a long way to go.

“We should further strive to increase our pandemic preparedness and stay many steps ahead of any pandemic that may threaten our lives in the future,” he said.

“Our people may have not died in vain, our unshed grief remained contained as bitter memories when we are proactively engaged to prevent further catastrophe in the generations to come,” Tuilaepa said in his main address on the 100 years anniversary of the pandemic.

Members of the Samoa Nurses Association at todays’ memorial service of the 100 years of the influenza pandemic

Nick Hurley said New Zealand’s commitment to the development of Samoa’s health started years after the 1918 tragedy.

He believes it was the implementation of New Zealand’s health policies that led to the establishment of the Village Womens Committees that saw to the maintenance and daily health services within the villages.

New Zealand is contributing NZ$2 million to the new Centre.

Tuilaepa noted the importance of the service by the Village Women Committees hence the call to revive this important entity within the health sectors. He also used the occasion to urge the nurses and health workers to stay true and honest to their calling and service.

Present at today’s event were members of the Samoa Nurses Association who acknowledged the call from both Governments to improve the health sector.