Health & Wellbeing

Academics to deliver postgraduate nursing courses in Samoa


Published May 28, 2018

A unique initiative will soon see Victoria University of Wellington academics delivering post-graduate courses in Nursing, Midwifery and Health at The National University of Samoa (NUS). 

A chronic shortage of qualified lecturers within the NUS School of Nursing was the catalyst for establishing the partnership between NUS and Victoria University of Wellington’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health in 2015, with the aim of building support across the health and education sectors in Samoa for this novel in-county solution. 

The resulting first-of-its-kind initiative—Growing our Own—is a joint response to the factors contributing to the shortage, which has impacted the ability of NUS to provide research capability and postgraduate qualifications both within its School of Nursing and in Samoa’s broader nursing and midwifery sector. 

From July 2018, the initiative will see Victoria’s Dr Robyn Maude and Dr Ausaga Faasalele Tanuvasa from the University’s Faculty of Health, deliver five PhDs, eight Master’s degrees and up to 40 diploma and certificate courses in Samoa. Implementation of the programme at NUS is being led by the Vice Chancellor Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua Asofou So’o and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Soi Sala Maatasesa Samuelu-Matthes. 

Victoria’s Associate Professor Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) says the ability to continue their studies in Samoa will enable students to remain working in the community, support their families and actively contributing to policy, practice and teaching.  “We want to help enhance the resilience of the Samoan people through best practice and primary health care—fa’a Samoa, so it is essential that research is undertaken by Samoans in Samoa on Samoan issues,” she says. 

“The ultimate objective is the provision of appropriate postgraduate qualifications by NUS to  ensure nurses, midwives and other health professionals have equality of access to study which will allow them to identify research issues and develop solutions relevant to Samoa in a manner that best allows them to serve the Samoan people.” 

Gary Ward, Manager of Knowledge Transfer Services at Viclink, worked closely with Victoria’s Dr Kathy Holloway to support the University’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health through this process. “We worked with NUS to define clear success criteria. If a model or option didn’t meet our partners’ and stakeholders’ needs it was discarded. As a result Growing our Own has the full support and belief of all stakeholders across the education and health sectors in Samoa.” 

The Prime Minister of Samoa the Hon Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has been a fundamental supporter of the programme due to its alignement with his vision for improved primary health care. “2018 is a poignant time to launch the programme as Samoa remembers both 100 years since the influenza pandemic desimated 22% of it population and celebrates 100 years since the nursing profession was established in Samoa,” he says. 

Dr Holloway says “This is an exciting opportunity to work with our Samoan colleagues to grow their own nurses and midwives, to stay at home and strengthen their own health system and to serve their people fa’a Samoa.” 

The Growing our Own initiative launches tomorrow Tuesday 29 May at 3pm at the National University of Samoa.