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Celebrating Interplast’s 40 years of life-changing surgeries in Samoa

Apia, SAMOA — The Australian High Commission warmly congratulates Interplast and Samoa’s Ministry of Health for 40 years of partnership and collaboration that has resulted in countless life-changing surgeries for Samoans.

Made up of surgeons, anaesthetists, allied health specialists and nurses from Australia and New Zealand, Interplast volunteers have delivered critical plastic and reconstructive surgeries for Samoan patients, the bulk of which have taken place at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital.

The impact of these surgeries has been profound. For example, cleft lip and palate surgeries for children have improved their ability to speak and develop. Burn victims have regained enhanced mobility through surgery. These are just a few examples of the collaborative work that has reduced pain and social stigma for patients.

In the last four decades, Interplast has made 39 trips to Samoa.  They have not only treated countless patients but have also fostered enduring relationships with local professionals.  This week, the team followed up with patients from their previous visit, as well as attending to new patients.

Many volunteers working with Interplast have returned multiple times, underscoring the strength of personal ties.  These missions are not solely about treatment; they also promote mutual growth and learning through training and knowledge exchange.

“It’s great to see the Samoa-Australia partnership in action in the health space.  Continuing relationships such as these strengthen health outcomes for Samoans and help to build capability of both Samoan and Australian medical professionals,” said Ms Claire McGeechan, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Samoa.

“Over the years, we’ve witnessed the invaluable contributions of Interplast.  Their dedication has significantly strengthened our healthcare sector, and we look forward to their continued support for years to come,” said Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen, the Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health.

“Interplast is delighted to have been invited back to Samoa year after year, since 1983.  We are grateful to our past and present surgical, allied health, clinical leadership and civil society partners in Samoa who share our vision for equitable health services.  We cherish the trust the Samoan community bestows upon us and will continue to uphold our connections to peers, families and communities in Samoa for the next 40 years to come!” said Jess Hill, Interplast’s Director of International Programs.

The Australian High Commission extends its appreciation to Interplast for its enduring commitment and cherishes the deep relationship it has cultivated with Samoa’s health professionals.