Senior member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA), Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga FRNZCGP, was recognised at the recent SunPix Awards for his work in providing clinical information and messages of hope to the Pacific community during the Covid-19 crisis.
Dr Talemaitoga received the Pacific Health and Well Being Award, which is sponsored by Pasifika Futures, at the SunPix Awards ceremony held at Auckland’s Eden Park last week.
The Fijian GP has medical practices in Christchurch and Auckland and is the chief advisor of Pacific health for the Ministry of Health. During the Covid-19 crisis, he was part of an integral team that provided information and advice to the Government, overseeing its surveillance and testing plans.
He says the fact that the SunPix Awards could be held in a roomful of people is a testament to the hard work of his team and cooperation from the community.
“Recently, we have not had the opportunity to celebrate together, because of the restrictions. It’s great to come out and celebrate Pacific achievement and to share this with friends and colleagues.
There’s a lovely warm feeling from the heart when people acknowledge you in this way.”
Surprisingly, Dr Talemaitoga grew up wanting to be a teacher, but his parents and family convinced him to become a doctor.
He says he has found many ways to apply the skills of a teacher into his medical profession.
“When I was a junior doctor, I loved the ability to be able to explain what blood pressure is or what high cholesterol means. I was lucky I found out early on that I could translate it nicely to make it relevant for people.
It’s about being authentic. I do this job from being a Fijian, understanding our people, our community and knowing that the work I am doing will be relevant to them.”
Date: Tuesday 10 November 2020