MEMBER of Parliament for Temotu Pele Martin Magga has died late on Monday night.
Mr Maga had been battling a long illness that left him on a wheel chair since 2009.
The Reef Islander born November 11, 1953 is a backbencher in the current government.
He entered Parliament during the 2006 National General Election and served as Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey in Prime Minister Derek Sikua’s Cabinet until May 2009, when he was transferred to the position of Minister for Health and Medical Services.
As Minister for Health then, he announced that the government was implementing “a Sector Wide Approach (SWA) for the health sector”: “The Sector Wide Approach brings together Government, donors and implementing partners under the leadership of Ministry of Health and Medical Services […] in a more harmonised, integrated and coordinated effort to support the National Health Strategic Plan.”
The “main objectives” of this approach were “to raise quality and accessibility of health services and improve financial sustainability and the management of the health system”.
Magga had also served as Minister for Justice in 2007, and was Acting Minister for Agriculture and Livestock for a time in 2008.
In May 2009, mere days after his appointment as Health Minister, and while returning from the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Magga “suddenly developed medical problems”.
He was hospitalised in Australia. He underwent “urgent surgery” and was in “critical condition”.
In June that year, he was relieved of his ministerial duties on medical grounds and replaced by Clay Forau Soalaoi.
Australian doctors said Magga would “not be able to function as he previously did, either as minister or as Member of Parliament, due to a series of complications during and after surgery.
He remained on life support but later showed slight improvement.
He was, nonetheless, successfully returned to Parliament in the August 2010 general election, though he was not given a Cabinet position.
He used a wheelchair from then on. In April 2012, constituents visited him twice to ask him to resign due to his health.
The Attorney General’s (AG) office however clarified that there was no provision for the sick, unless he is bankrupt or certified to be insane before entering Parliament.
By EDNAL PALMER