Samoa continues to grapple with high rates of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia if left untreated can lead to complications such as sterility or difficulty for a woman to carry a baby to term.
In 2017 the rate of chlamydia was estimated to be 30.6% (26.8 to 35.0) The situation is exacerbated by a low rate of testing, limited condom usage, and limited coverage of sexual and reproductive health education in schools.
In a statement issued stated that a team at the School of Nursing at the National University of Samoa (NUS) sought to raise public awareness and conducted a series shares health information on sensitive topics specifically targeted to Samoans locally and in the diaspora through the Samoan language.
This was possible with the support and mentorship of the Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s International Development (ABCID) unit, NUS conducted interviews with medical experts to create the dialogues in episodes.
ABC International Development Lead, Jo Elsom said the series of recorded health consultations seek to entertain and inform and also learn about important health topics.
Adding that with a lot of misinformation and a lack of awareness surrounding STDs, each episode seeks to inform, educate, and answer frequently asked questions. The episodes consist of introducing STDs: what they are, and the causes and risks for contracting an STD.
Co-Producer and academic Dr Ramona Boodoosingh say “It is critical that health information be accessible, understandable and useful to people when making decisions about their health; this requires health educators to explore different strategies to achieve these goals, especially when the health topics are sensitive.
Also to raise awareness of STDs, to help dispel many of the myths around STDs – such as one must look ill to be ill – and to encourage the public to make informed health decisions which include getting tested.