Apia, Samoa – Wednesday 31st January, 2024.
The National University of Samoa (NUS) celebrated a significant milestone on Monday 29th January 2024 with the official launch of its Bachelor of Health Science programme. The ceremony, held at the Fale Samoa at the Le Papaigalagala campus, was well attended by esteemed guests including the New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner, Her Excellency Lavea’i Ioane, Director General of Health Afioga Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma and his management team, NUS Vice Chancellor Professor Tuifuisa’a Patila Amosa and Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr. Peseta Desmond Lee Hang as well as dignitaries from the diplomatic corps.
The idea for the Bachelor of Health Science programme originated in 2020, with the recognition by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Samoa Ministry of Health of the need to strengthen Samoa’s primary care and allied health workforce. This vision aligned perfectly with the values of the National University of Samoa, which focuses on education, employability, research, and innovation.
Following extensive collaboration between the New Zealand government, the Samoa Ministry of Health, and NUS, a commitment was solidified. This commitment included a generous contribution of NZD3.49 million over five years by the Aotearoa New Zealand government for the development and delivery of the Bachelor of Health Science programme, as well as scholarships and student support initiatives. The programme will be designed and implemented by NUS and the Ministry of Health in close collaboration with various government ministries, councils, and authorities in Samoa, with the aim of running the programme through Samoan resources in the future.
Vice Chancellor Professor Tuifuisa’a Patila Amosa expressed her gratitude to the partners and stakeholders who contributed to the achievement. She thanked the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their funding and project expertise, as well as the Samoa Ministry of Health for their collaboration in developing a programme tailored to Samoa’s health needs. She also acknowledged the government ministries, councils, and authorities that supported the project including the NUS staff for their dedication and expertise in preparing and delivering the programme.
The launch ceremony also included a speech by Acting New Zealand High Commissioner, Lavea’i Ioane, who commended the resilience and commitment of all partners and stakeholders involved in the project. She highlighted the challenges faced during the past three years, including the measles outbreak and the global pandemic, but commended everyone involved for successfully completing the programme’s design and signing the Grant Funding Agreement between Samoa and New Zealand in 2023.
The Bachelor of Health Science programme aims to strengthen Samoa’s health workforce by equipping allied health professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge. The first cohort of 17 students has already been enrolled for Semester 1, 2024, consisting of healthcare professionals currently employed in the health sector and students who have completed foundation or degree programs.
Looking ahead, NUS envisions the Bachelor of Health Science program becoming a beacon of excellence in healthcare education, alongside the existing programmes in Medicine and Nursing. The university is looking forward to continuing working closely with its partners and stakeholders to further strengthen Samoa’s health workforce and services.
Group Photo 1 from left to right: Samoa Director General of Health – Afioga Aiono Alec Ekeroma, Deputy New Zealand High Commissioner – Lavea’i Ioane, NUS Vice Chancellor – Professor Tuifuisa’a Malua Amosa, Reverend Malotau Lafolafoga.