Serving one’s country is an honour many dedicate their lives to, and for almost half a century Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe has served Samoa with pride in the nation’s health sector.
And her service has been recognized by Government, awarding her the Companion of the Order of Samoa.
Before her long service in Samoa’s health sector, the 68-year-old who hails from Faletagaloa Safune, Vailele, Vailoa, and Malie started her academic journey at Itu o Tane and Itu Asau from 1967 to 1968 before moving on to Leififi Intermediate School from 1969 to 1971.
In 1971, she became a student of one of Samoa’s top schools – Samoa College until graduating in 1974.
She was then blessed with a scholarship to study in New Zealand at the Rotorua Public Hospital School of Nursing from 1975 to 1978.
In the years that followed, Palanitina continued to be blessed with opportunities to further her studies in educational institutions such as the Victoria College Burnwood Campus (Deakin University), National University of Samoa (NUS), University of New South Wales, University of New England, and Boston University.
She started her service to her country working as a Registered Nurse in 1979 at the Intensive Care Unit of the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Motootua.
Palanitina then moved on to become a Nurse Educator in 1981 at the Department of Health School of Nursing in the nation’s university.
She continued her service as an educator from 1982 to 1998 in which during the time she moved up to the senior ranks and eventually Chief of Health Educator and Health Promotion Specialist.
In October 1998, the longtime serving nurse switched from Health to the Ministry of Women, Community, and Social Development (MWCSD) taking on the role of Assistant Secretary for 5 years and then taking on the Assistant Chief Executive Officer role in the Ministry from 2003 to 2005.
By February 2005, Palanitina made a comeback in health to lead the Ministry of Health as its Director General for nine years.
After her long service to the Health Ministry, she was chosen as the Chairperson of the Samoa Qualifications Authority Board of Directors – Education Sector in 2016.
She once again made a comeback in health in leading the National Health Services as the General Manager from 2016 to 2019.
In the years that followed, she was part of the Board of Directors of the Samoa Water Authority (SWA), and to this day is part of the Board of Directors of the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
While she was dedicating her life in service of her country, Palanitina was also took on roles such as a Court Assessor, serving her church Vailele Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) as a Member of the Mafutaga o Tina, Church Secretary, and the Matagaluega Apia Sasae Deacon/Representative to the CCCS Komiti o Feau Eseese.