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Samoan patients seeking overseas medical treatment on the rise

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Apia, SAMOA — The Samoan government has started to look at ways of accommodating the increasing number of patients seeking overseas treatment.

The Samoa Observer reports the prime minister saying the Ministry of Health has been tasked with providing a plan to allow more people to get treatment under the overseas medical scheme funding, but not necessarily at overseas facilities.

The government approved an additional $4 million tālā for the overseas medical scheme in March this year, on top of the allocated $8 million tālā in the 2021-2022 budget that was used up before the end of the financial year.

One option Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa spoke of is an agreement with a cardiologist clinic in Fiji that can assess, screen, diagnose and operate on patients in Fiji and there is hope it can be done in Samoa.

Fiame said the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital has to have the capacity and be well equipped in order to have the service available locally where more people can be treated.

She also spoke of possible assistance from the Samoa Medical Association of New Zealand.

Samoa has high rates of non-communicable diseases.