Victoria academics to deliver postgraduate nursing courses in Sāmoa


Midwifery and Health is one of the post graduate courses getting support under the initiative

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 28 MAY 2018: A unique initiative will soon see Victoria University of Wellington academics delivering post-graduate courses in Nursing, Midwifery and Health at The National University of Sāmoa (NUS).

A chronic shortage of qualified lecturers within the NUS School of Nursing was the catalyst for establishing the partnership between NUS and Victoria University of Wellington’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health in 2015, with the aim of building support across the health and education sectors in Sāmoa for this novel in-country solution.

The resulting first-of-its-kind initiative—Growing our Own—is a joint response to the factors contributing to the shortage, which has impacted the ability of NUS to provide research capability and postgraduate qualifications both within its School of Nursing and in Sāmoa’s broader nursing and midwifery sector.

From July 2018, the initiative will see Victoria’s Dr Robyn Maude and Dr Ausaga Faasalele Tanuvasa from the University’s Faculty of Health, deliver five PhDs, eight Master’s degrees and up to 40 diploma and certificate courses in Sāmoa. Implementation of the programme at NUS is being led by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua ‘Ilaoa Asofou So’o and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Soi Salā Ma’atasesa Samuelu-Matthes.

The Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Samoa Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua ‘Ilaoa Asofou So’o (wearing ulafala) with some of the University faculty

Victoria’s Associate Professor Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) says the ability to continue their studies in Sāmoa will enable students to remain working in the community, support their families and actively contributing to policy, practice and teaching.  “We want to help enhance the resilience of the Sāmoan people through best practice and primary health care—fa’a Sāmoa, so it is essential that research is undertaken by Sāmoans in Sāmoa on Sāmoan issues,” she says.

“The ultimate objective is the provision of appropriate postgraduate qualifications by NUS to  ensure nurses, midwives and other health professionals have equality of access to study which will allow them to identify research issues and develop solutions relevant to Sāmoa in a manner that best allows them to serve the Sāmoan people.”

Gary Ward, Manager of Knowledge Transfer Services at Viclink, worked closely with Victoria’s Dr Kathy Holloway to support the University’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health through this process. We worked with NUS to define clear success criteria. If a model or option didn’t meet our partners’ and stakeholders’ needs it was discarded. As a result Growing our Own has the full support and belief of all stakeholders across the education and health sectors in Sāmoa.”

The Prime Minister of Sāmoa the Hon. Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has been a fundamental supporter of the programme due to its alignment with his vision for improved primary health care. “2018 is a poignant time to launch the programme as Sāmoa remembers both 100 years since the influenza pandemic decimated 22% of it population and celebrates 100 years since the nursing profession was established in Sāmoa,” he says.

Dr Holloway says “This is an exciting opportunity to work with our Sāmoan colleagues to grow their own nurses and midwives, to stay at home and strengthen their own health system and to serve their people fa’a Sāmoa.”

The Growing our Own initiative launches tomorrow Tuesday 29 May, 3pm at the CSS Seminar room at The National University of Sāmoa.