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Three Gubernatorial teams agree: Healthcare is the gov’t service that needs improvement

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The three gubernatorial teams who took part in the American Samoa Bar Association’s recent forum echoed each other, that the government service that needs priority improvement is health care for local residents.

The Gaoteote and Fai’ivae gubernatorial team weren’t able to attend the Bar Association’s forum, where 15 questions from the public were posed with the candidates.

“What is the one basic government service that you believe needs to be improved to better serve the people and how would you improve it?” was the question to the candidates.


Responding in Samoan, candidate for governor, Sen. Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua, said the Nua and Satele team believes there are a lot of basic services that the government needs to improve but among the priority issues is improvement to the hospital. He claims that thousands and thousands of people in American Samoa are not getting the service they deserve and need from the hospital.

He pointed out that if a government official is ill, it’s easy for that person to go off island seeking medical attention but the average person in American Samoa can’t even get a chance through the LBJ off island medical referral committee for treatment.

Another issue of concern is the procurement process, ensuring that the vendor selected is the right one, said the Manu’a senator, who went on to claim that many government projects have been awarded to companies from off island, leaving out American Samoa owned contractors. (No proof or names were offered.)

He questioned whether the procurement process was carried out correctly and said it’s important to Nua and Satele that honest people are brought into government to serve the public, to make the right decisions.


Candidate for lieutenant governor, Talauega Eleasalo Va’alele Ale said the number one issue in the team’s platform is “health care”, and the reason for it is that “we see health care as the most critical need of our people today.”

“We suffer from all types of health issues and we end up having to look outside of American Samoa,” he said and pointed out that “many of our population have moved to the States because they can’t find the health services that they need here.”

“And that’s why Lemanu and I, think that it’s important for us to invest seriously to improve our health care system here, so the comprehensive and affordable healthcare is available to all of our people, so all of those folks who are living in America right now, they can come home, and bring all of those resources to grow and better our community,” he explained.

“So for us, it is health care, it is our number one platform issue and we intend to improve it in a significant way,” he added.


“So we all agree it’s health care,” declared candidate for lieutenant governor, Tapaau Dr. Dan Mageo Aga. “But this is how I’aulualo and I are different. We propose to improve health care in the hospital by developing non-profit models for women’s health care, and children’s health care.”

He said the I’aulualo and Tapaau team is the first to propose non-profit, so that these services are eligible for funding from private foundations and other non-profit groups. He cited foundations or non-profits such as Shriners Hospital in Hawaii, and Seattle Children Hospital in Seattle.

“That’s how we can improve basic government service,” he said and pointed out that another important improvement for all government services is “customer service”.

“We want to improve good customer service across the government,” he said to cheers from the audience.