Wednesday 11 September 2019 10:50pm
Staff from the University of Otago’s Pacific Islands Centre, Va’a O Tautai, Eric Nabalagi and Frances Brebner, help load dental chairs on to a shipping container destined for Samoa.
The University of Otago is gifting dental chairs from its Faculty of Dentistry to the Samoan Ministry of Health to assist with dental care in the Pacific nation.
The gesture is due to the foresight of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences, Professor Paul Brunton, after a recent trip to Samoa to visit Otago students on placement.
“I saw the condition of the equipment they were using and how this was restricting what they could do for patients,” Professor Brunton explains.
“We had some chairs that we were replacing as part of our development of the new clinical services building at the dental school which I considered had plenty of life left in them; so I spoke with my colleagues who agreed to donate the chairs to the people of Samoa.
“I am delighted that we have managed to make this happen, the chairs will enable improved services to be offered to patients.”
Samoa’s Director General of Health, Leausa Samau Dr Take Naseri, says the Samoan Ministry of Health is very grateful for the donation.
“This gift will enable the Ministry of Health to expand access to dental health care in Samoa.”
In the area of dental health, Otago University as a notable health sector partner has contributed over the years in filling the gap by providing professional development opportunities and the donation of dental equipment for Samoa, he says.
“The offer of eight orthodontic chairs by Professor Brunton was well accepted by the Prime Minister of Samoa Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, to further assist with government hospitals’ dental operations.”
The chairs will be located and distributed to cover not only the National Hospital at Moto’otua, but also the rural district hospitals at Lalomanu, Poutasi, in Upolu and Foailalo, Sataua and Safotu in Savaii.
Eight 2003 Sirona C8+ dental unit models were shipped in a container from Port Otago and have arrived in Apia in time for an official gifting ceremony between a delegation from the University and the Samoan Government this Friday, 13 September.
Acting Head of the Faculty of Dentistry, Professor Karl Lyons, says one of the University’s goals is to contribute to international progress and assisting the Pacific region is a part of this.
“The Faculty is proud to be able to contribute to this in such a positive way by the donation of the dental chairs, from which it is hoped we will help to improve the provision of oral health services in Samoa.”