A 41 strong medical team from New Zealand is to perform the first open-heart surgery in Samoa.
Ten patients have been selected to undergo the surgery at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Apia.
The General Manager of the Samoa National Health Services, Dr Stanley Dean told the Samoa Observer this is the start of Samoa's plan to reverse the trend of sending heart patients to New Zealand for operations.
Dr. Dean said the Samoa Government is footing the bill for airfares and accommodation for the group, but having the surgeries conducted in Samoa would save the Government at least 460 thousand US dollars
Each operation costs US 36,600 If they were done in New Zealand they would have cost more than 73,000 US dollars each