Dr Amelia Latu Afuhaamango Tuipulotu
Amelia was the first female Minister for Health for the Kingdom of Tonga from 2019 to December 2021 and led Tonga’s response to both the measles outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic up to December 2021, without deaths for both during her time in leadership.
Before that she was the national Chief Nursing Officer. Amelia’s PhD work informed the development of the Tonga National Professional Standards for the Registered Nurse and is mandated within the Act 2021. Amelia was decorated with the Knight Grand Cross: Royal Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Tonga by His Majesty King Tupou VI in 2021.
Amelia is committed to supporting the globe’s largest health care professionals─nurses and midwives to transform health systems to promote health and well-being and serve the vulnerable.
Dr Amelia Latu Afuhaamango Tuipulotu was appointed as the Chief Nursing Officer of the World Health Organization in December 2022 and took up the role in WHO Headquarters, Geneva in January 2023. In response to this appointment she was credited as Professor by the University of Sydney, Australia.
Amelia was the first female Minister for Health for the Kingdom of Tonga from 2019 to December 2021 and led Tonga’s response to both the measles outbreak in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic up to December 2021, without deaths for both during her time in leadership.
She is the first Tongan to receive a PhD in Nursing in 2012. Amelia’s PhD work informed the development of the Tonga National Professional Standards for the Registered Nurse which guide both nursing education and practice and is mandated within the Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Midwives Act 2021, passed during her time in the Legislative Assembly.
As a qualified nurse, Amelia’s first roles were in charge of the Surgical ward (1995), and Psychiatric ward (1997) before she was posted to the School of Nursing. She was promoted to a senior lecturer position in 2002 and acting Principal after graduating with a Master’s by research degree from the University of Newcastle. Upon return after her doctoral studies she was promoted to Matron (Director of Nursing) at Vaiola Hospital in 2012. In April 2014 Amelia became the national Chief Nursing Officer for Tonga.
In 2014, Amelia was the first Tongan to win the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement, a prestigious honour award from the University of Sydney, Australia. She has been a recent member of the Advisory Board of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC), University Technology of Sydney, Australia, and was the chair of the South Pacific Chief Nursing & Midwifery Officers Alliance (SPCNMOA) for many years. She has also chaired the Tonga Nurses Regulatory Board. Amelia was a board member of the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation – a firm advocate for ‘Grow your Wellness’ – encouraging lifestyle transformation, active living and pride in local Pacific traditional cuisine.
In 2019, Amelia was awarded Honorary Adjunct Associate Professor by the University of Sydney. In 2021, Amelia was decorated with the Knight Grand Cross: Royal Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Tonga by His Majesty King Tupou VI. Amelia has received the Prime Minister’s award, International Women’s Award and the Tonga Police Award and Patronage.
Amelia has provided her professional expertise to health services, organizations and governments over many years, in three major areas including Strategic Policy, Innovation & Research and Preparing Future Leaders. Her particular research interests focus on professional standards issues in nursing and health care delivery. She has led the development of patient satisfaction system, strategic directions, career pathways, policy and procedure manual, code of ethics, regulation system, visionary leadership programme, model of care, clinical review and productivity, research alliance, young future leaders, performance management system, annual planning, reading clubs and nurses’ satisfaction survey. She speaks nationally and internationally on her work and has presented in many regional and international conferences.
In 2022, Amelia was engaged to the Western Pacific Region as a WHO consultant at the Health Emergency programme (WHE).
In her role as Chief Nursing Officer at WHO, Amelia is committed to supporting global nursing and midwifery in its work to transform health systems in order to serve the population of the world and the most vulnerable communities.