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Report: Lack of medical services is the priority issue for Manu’a islands

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga
Report issued after recent Manu’a visit by the Lemanu- Talauega admin

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With no resident doctor in Manu’a, which also faces a shortage of nurses, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga has instructed Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua and LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer Faumuina John Faumuina to look into this serious matter that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Speaking at last week Thursday’s cabinet meeting, the governor suggested next month to have these medical professionals staff the clinics in Manu’a, which were visited by the governor, along with Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale, and a majority of cabinet directors and support staff during a trip to Manu’a, March 25-27.

According to the governor, only five or six cabinet members didn’t make the trip and all those who traveled are fully aware of the needs and wants of the Manu’a island group.

The Governor’s Office Manu’a Operational Weekly Report, which is a summary of the trip last month and was distributed at the cabinet meeting — states that there is a need for a bigger health center in Manu’a to accommodate all medical services and should include a bigger morgue. The report suggested a new medical center would be in order.

Also in the report is the fact that there is no resident doctor in Manu’a. “It is a must and should be a requirement to cover all Manu’a,” according to the report, which also points out that the Ofu island health center has not been used for over a year and is in the process of renovation and repair, adding new space.

For the time being, the Executive Office Building on Ofu has been used to provide medical services to residents, it says. The report summarized a wide-range of issues that require attention in Manu’a, such as school maintenance and repairs, a teachers shortage, and that all wharves in Manu’a need reassessment by the US Army Corps of Engineer before any more dredging and repairs are carried out.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, the governor said a lot of improvements need to be carried out in Manu’a and there are priorities. He specifically mentioned the lack of a physician and shortage of nurses as well as no emergency responders.

Lemanu instructed Motusa and Faumuina to look into these priority issues and suggested that each island should get one doctor and at least three or four nurses.

Lemanu, a military retiree, recalled several years ago, that Manu’a had agreed to having the US Army Reserve training center there but the Army later halted this move due to the lack of medical professionals — nurses and doctors — at that time based in Manu’a.

He said that having medical professionals available is an important issue to the federal government and without such important services it’s difficult to attract visitors to Manu’a, which the governor also says is a great place to visit and urged directors to use the islands for their “retreats, vacations and workshops” especially now with flight suspension between the two Samoas.

The governor claims that Manu’a is better than Apia, Samoa and Manu’a residents serve up free excellent food, including delicious seafood for visitors there.

The Manu’a Operation Weekly Report, distributed at the cabinet meeting, declared that “Manu’a is the best place to visit for your enjoyment and relaxation with family”.

For visitors the report says enjoy the Manu’a hospitality;

•           watch the beautiful sunrise in Mutiatele, Fitiuta;

•           stroll along the famous Olosega and Ofu white sandy beaches well known in the U.S

•           snorkel around the Asaaga under the famous bridge that connects Ofu and Olosega islands

•           hike towards Sili village to visit the famous “Lalomoaga Cove and the Maa Fee”; and

•           take “an evening village stroll with Manu’a’s friendly Ghosts”.