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Samoa minister asks how hospital became animal farm

A field of cows

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's Ministry of Health has begun an investigation into how a disused district hospital in Maasina village in the Fagaloa area came to be used as an animal farm.

The Samoa Observer reported that Minister of Health Valasi Tafito Selesele addressed the issue in parliament, in response to a request from Vaa-o-Fonoti MP Mau'u Siaosi Puepuemai for a new hospital at Fagaloa.

Valasi said during an inspection of the facility he was surprised at what he found.

"When I was on my inspections around government hospitals, I have seen that the facility was filled with grass, and looks like an animal farmhouse because there were cows there," he told parliament.

"There was literally no patient nor a nurse there, which means to be clear, if over $300,000 was spent on establishing this hospital and you are again seeking to open another hospital in your constituency, this is one of the issues we've put to those units that investigate these things, to probe into this.

"Because, according to the Tenders Board, it was never on tender."

Despite the investigations, Valasi agreed to the request made by the Vaa-o-Fonoti MP for a new hospital in their constituency, although it was still in progress.

He urged the MP to submit a formal letter to his office when a piece of land had been confirmed for the hospital to be built on.

According to Valasi, some members of the constituency were concerned about the location of the old hospital, and had asked why it had been stationed there, when it was difficult for some of the residents to get to.

He added that chiefs from the constituency approached him requesting to use the current building as a committee house for the constituency, given it was no longer being used for its original purpose.