By Talaia Mika
APIA, SAMOA 03 JUNE 2022: The outgoing Director General of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri was farewelled last Friday by the Ministry he headed for nine years.
In a public video message, he thanked the Government and the people of Samoa for the confidence and support during his nine year tenure as the top health official in the country.
He also apologized for any shortfalls in his service saying, there was never any intention to harm anyone’s life especially in situations where lives were lost.
Appointed in 2013, Leausa headed the Ministry in challenging times where the previously divided Ministry of Health and National Health Services was again merged under one administration but left personal differences hanging among health professionals.
He headed the Ministry during the measles epidemic in late 2019 and the unfortunate tragedy where two babies died shortly after being vaccinated with a wrongly mixed vaccine at the Safotu Hospital.
Then a hundred people died from the measles epidemic in 2019, most of them babies due to the low vaccination coverage. This was followed by the current Covid-19 pandemic which was held at bay for two years until the community infection broke out on 17 March this year and has so far taken 27 lives and 13,000 infections.
At the farewell ceremony, Leausa was showered with gifts and warm messages of well wishes from colleagues from the Ministry for his future journey.
The Ministry also presented traditional gifts of food and fine mats to acknowledge their former administrator.
Leausa studied medicine in New Zealand and the United States and practiced medicine in American Samoa before returning to Samoa in 2010 and worked as a public health consultant physician at the Ministry of Health.
He was later promoted to the Assistant Chief Executive level in 2012 and he was the first to hold the position.
He became Director General in 2014 until his contract ended last Friday.
He said he had ended his path with the Ministry and he will choose another path to continue to serve the country.
“I am now confident to leave as there is now a solution to the Covid-19 such as vaccinations and more, while as before, it was worrisome that there was none,” he said.
Dr. Leausa was acknowledged by the Ministry for his leadership throughout the measles epidemic which Samoa was able to overcome despite the loss of lives, and the Covid-19 pandemic which peaked in early May.
He did not reveal what he will do next but encouraged the Ministry to remain vigilant in their line of work.
The position of Director General is now being advertised.