Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Tuitama Leao Talalelei Tuitama, Minister of Health
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
TUITAMA LEAO TALALELEI TUITAMA, Minister for Health of Samoa, said his country, like most Pacific islands, was facing the reality of an increasing number of HIV cases since the first case had been detected in 1990. Although Samoa considered itself a low-prevalence country, with a total of 22 HIV cases to date, concern remained due to the high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and subsequent implications for the spread of HIV. Samoa acknowledged with gratitude the support of the international community in improving health systems and encompassing all facets of sexual and reproductive health. Samoa had invested in a sector-wide approach programme for its health sector and set clear national health outcomes and national health strategies. The Government was advocating for greater health consciousness for its people, one example of which was the formation of the Samoa Parliamentarian Advocacy Group for Healthy Living, which highlighted political commitment towards responding to global health challenges.
The high level of political commitment had mandated the formation of the National AIDS Coordinating Council and its Technical Advisory Committee to mobilize national concerted efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS, he said. The work of the Council had led to the development and endorsement of the National HIV/AIDS Policy and Plan of Action from 2011 to 2016. The Technical Advisory Committee was engaged in funded activities, such as voluntary counselling and confidential testing clinics; capacity-building training programmes for health personnel; care for people living with HIV through antiretroviral treatment; multimedia campaigns targeting youth; and the establishment of the Women in Leadership Advocacy Group on HIV/AIDS. Samoa had also made progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through the development of sector policies and strategic frameworks to facilitate multisector efforts to control HIV/AIDS. The Government’s HIV/AIDS response was supported by the Global Fund and the Regional Strategy for Implementation Plan 11 Response Fund. Despite the progress made thus far, more work remained to improve communication, equalize gender power relations, overcome cultural and religious barriers, uphold equity, maintain respect for human rights and strengthen health systems.