Fiji School of Medicine to accept five local students, says hospital’s board chair

He says, negotiations a “success”

Apia, SAMOA  —  Chairman of the Hospital Board, Filifa’atali Mike Fuiava has confirmed that negotiations with the Fiji School of Medicine regarding American Samoan students were a “success”. Responding to Samoa News questions during a brief interview at the Fagali’i Airport, Filifa’atali said their negotiations were a success and the Medicine School has accepted five students from American Samoa to attend beginning in 2017.

Last week hospital Chief Executive Officer, Taufete’e John Faumuina told Samoa News the LBJ hospital with the assistance of the American Samoa Government is offering a “full scholarship to the Fiji School of Medicine.”

He told Samoa News that this was one way to assure that 10 years from now there will still be Samoan physicians working at the hospital.

The hospital CEO said he hoped that students who are interested will take up this opportunity as it’s fully funded by the LBJ. He did not specify the dollar amount of the scholarship, but stated that the money has been set aside for this scholarship.

According to the hospital board chair, Filifa’ata,li, “Its a done deal, we will start sending five students to the Fiji School of medicine come the winter Semester in January 2017.”

Accompanying Filifa’atli on the “mission” was Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Iotamo Saleapaga, Dr. James Sunia and Medical Director of the Department of Health, Tamasoaali’i Dr. John Tufa and and Senator Afoamoega Lutu and his wife, hospital board member Etenauga Lutu.

Filifa’atali told Samoa News that the “tuition” for these students has been inserted into the (hospital Fiscal year) budget 2017.”

The Hospital Board Chairman also told Samoa News that there are also ongoing negotiations with an official from World Health Organization (WHO) — the organization will also offer assistance with the hospital’s efforts in sending medical students to the Fiji School of Medicine.

BACKGROUND

Last week Taufete’e, told Samoa News Samoan physicians currently working at LBJ will soon retire and the board and management felt obligated to find a way to continue to have Samoan physicians working at the hospital. He said that the majority of the physicians that have been hired by LBJ are graduates of Fiji School of Medicine — “so why not send our students to Fiji.”

Taufete’e told Samoa News “there is no pool for physicians” in the territory for the hospital to choose from and that is a problem that LBJ is trying to “fix”.

According to the advertisement in the Samoa News, application requirements include a copy of degree(s) [with] focus on science; a resume; two letters of recommendations, and a one-page personal statement essay. Applications must be submitted by October 31, 2016. It does not indicate how applications will be vetted

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