7th Bilateral Health Summit of the two Samoas held at Lee Auditorium

November 18, 2016

“Saving Money, Saving Time, and Saving Life” was the theme of the three-day 7th Bilateral Health Summit of the two Samoas held at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium.  The Summit concluded successfully on Friday November 18 and was attended by local dignitaries and Public Health personnel, a delegation of over 30 people from Samoa led by Associate Minister of Health Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching, formerly an esteemed medical practitioner here in American Samoa, and representatives from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pacific Health Officers Association (of which American Samoa is a member) and the World Health Organization.

The Summit was opened with remarks by Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga who stressed the importance of this year’s gathering.  He noted that it allowed an opportunity to those who have participated in previous summits to share their attained knowledge. Also the summit provided important opportunities for American Samoa and Samoa to improve health care services for their citizens.  In order to address the challenges of today’s health care, Lt. Governor Lemanu recommended more reliance on traditional behaviors to find current solutions.

The summit’s keynote speaker was Mr. Bob Grunewald, an economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.  Mr. Grunewald noted that more affluent communities tend to have more resources and be healthier, so projects must be designed accordingly. One of the projects he described is named “healthy communities” where those who are working in public health are connected with those who work in community development.  He stated that a crucial goal after the summit is for participants to decide who it would be best “to reach out to and partner with.”

At the closing ceremonies, Salausa Dr. Ah Ching spoke on behalf of the Government of Samoa and his delegation in thanking hosts American Samoa for their hospitality. Salausa emphasized that the Summit is the best chance for all sectors of appropriate communities of health professionals, policymakers, lawmakers and traditional leaders of both Samoas to come together and find solutions to further improve health care for its people. Regarding this year's theme “Saving money, Saving time, Saving Life” he remarked “spend money wisely, use time wisely and use your life wisely”.

Final words on behalf of the American Samoa Government were offered by District Governor Misaalafua Hudson who said that the findings reached during the Summit will certainly improve the health of the people of both Samoas and suggested that findings be disseminated to the general public accordingly.