MOH consider options to minimize the rising costs of sending patients overseas for medical


The Ministry of Health is looking at options to detain the rising costs to send Samoan patients for specialized overseas treatment in New Zealand.

Government media reported, joining Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Director General of Health, Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma re-emphasized the rising number of young people send for cancer and heart disease specialized treatment in New Zealand is more than a worry but a government universal concern.

Aiono also noted that along with the Prime Minister the Health Sector is concerned that the “costs for the country are not sustainable.” 

“We are as concerned as the Hon. Prime Minister because the costs for the country are not sustainable,” reiterate the Health Director in his email reply to Savali News inquiries.   

“The initial budget was $6Million but in this financial year, it will probably top $ 20 million.” 

 To that extent, he elaborated that MoH is researching three options to arrest the costs but most importantly to ensure that there is treatment available and a Prevention Framework in place.


“We need to address the high obesity and resultant diabetes and hypertension complications in our country,” said the Health Director. 

“If we can reduce non-communicable diseases by a combination of population measures such as in regulations and policies and community interventions and messaging that are effective then we would have addressed to a major degree the prevention side.


He says that referring local patients to other countries other than New Zealand is also being diagnosed.

Now that the borders are open, “we are keen to resume referrals to India where the cost of treatment is a fraction of the cost of those treated in New Zealand,” is one option revealed by the Health Chief.

And another option is for patients to be referred to Fiji for pediatric heart surgery.  


Aiono also revealed plans to revisit treatment on the island as published below verbatim.

“The Health Ministry has put out a call for an advisor to do a study on whether it was more cost-effective to provide angiogram and stenting services in Samoa or whether we should refer those with blocked coronary arteries overseas.