Samoan maternal health administrator in the worlds 10 best

Among the 10 best in the world, Samoan maternal health administrator, Lealai’auloto Lia’i Iosefa Si’itia

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 11 OCTOBER 2018: Executive Director of Samoa Family Health Association- SFHA, Lealai’auloto Lia’i Iosefa Si’itia, has been recognised with a top award presented by the School of Public Health of Harvard University.

The award is part of commemorating 10 years of the University’s Maternal Health Taskforce.

Lealai’auloto says, nomination forms were sent out and she only found out she was being nominated when the University emailed her informing that she was one of the awardees.

“At first, I thought it was a scam, so I sent an email for verification,” she told Talamua. “I even asked who nominated me.”

She found out later that former Australian workers who collaborated with a volunteer colleague in her office filled in the information and submitted the nomination.

There were 382 nominees globally, but only ten were awarded including two nurses, Lealai’auloto from Samoa and one from the Philippines.

In receiving the award, she became the first recipient from Samoa and the Pacific region.

“I was excited because Samoa was amongst the best in the Top 10. The other recipients were professors, associate professors, and doctors with ranks within their countries.”

Lealaiauloto’s leadership includes recognition of the work of the Samoa Family Health Association as one of the highly regarded health institutions working collaboratively with donor partners and sponsors.

SFHA operates two health clinics in Moto’otua and one in Salelologa, Savaii.

“It allows us to deliver our services to the community, particularly on family planning and sexual reproductive health services.”

Lealai’auloto dedicates her award to God, and to her staff. “If there is one thing I would like to do, is to work on building the capacity of my staff because they are the ones who do the work.”

A midwife by profession, Lealai’auloto worked with the Ministry of Health for over 30 years before shifting to the private sector about 20 years ago.