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Open Access Research article

Trade and health in Samoa: views from the insiders

Jacinta Fa’alili-Fidow1*, Judith McCool2 and Teuila Percival1

Author Affiliations

1 Pacific Health, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag, 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

2 Social and Community Health, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag, 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:309  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-309

Published: 4 April 2014

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this paper is to portray the views of key stakeholders on the potential impacts of Samoa’s free trade negotiations and agreements, on health and wellbeing in Samoa.

Methods

A series of key informant interviews were undertaken with identified stakeholders during June and July, 2011. Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview protocol. They were conducted in–person, in New Zealand and in Samoa.

Results

Despite potential health and wellbeing gains arising from trade activities (employment, increase in income, health innovations and empowerment of women), key stakeholders expressed a growing concern about the effect of trade on the population’s health, nutrition and the rates of non-communicable diseases. Unease about compromising the national policies due to international regulations was also conveyed. Business and trade representatives however, believed that trade benefits outweighed any health and wellbeing risks to the population of Samoa.

Conclusion

Further investigation, using new methodologies are required to determine both the opportunities and threats for trade as a mechanism to improve the health of Samoa’s population.

Keywords:
Trade; Pacific; Samoa; Non-communicable disease