SouthSeas medical team deploy for Samoa

16 December 2019

Talofa from the SSH PacMat team.

With the current measles epidemic sweeping across Samoa, SouthSeas Healthcare has dispatched a medical team to assist. The team is led by Tagaloa Dr Andrew Chan Mow, supported by Olo Dr Teariki Puni and Dr Florina Chan Mow, along with Registered Nurse Tepora Peseta, Misa Alesana Onosa’i, and Fonofili Sa’e Parkinson.

SouthSeas Healthacare CEO Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo says “The people of Samoa, and especially children and infants are in real danger and urgently need to be vaccinated. We are sending some of our Samoan staff to try and help out where they can.”

“As a Pacific healthcare provider, we felt this is the right thing to do. Our staff will join many New Zealand doctors and nurses already on the ground. We hope this will help relieve the local medical staff’s burden.”

“This is a dramatic situation for Samoa and sending our qualified Samoan speaking staff to help is an extension of care in what we do at SouthSeas,” says Lemalu.

“Our yearly tradition of secret Santa, exchanging gifts amongst staff has been changed this year to our staff each bringing a gift suited to children of various ages so our team can distribute them wherever they will be rostered in Samoa.”

“We have been working closely with our Board members already in Samoa, Dr Teuila Percival and Dr Loana Tanielu, to ensure we are providing the resources that are needed. We also need to acknowledge the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s collaboration with the Pasifika Medical Association that has enabled the team to travel to Samoa as part of the deployment plan.”

The SouthSeas medical team will join other healthcare professionals from around the world deployed for this outbreak to support local authorities as they respond to urgent health needs.

Over 70 people have been confirmed dead with the majority of them children.

There has been an overwhelming response to Samoa’s call for assistance with the measles epidemic but more care is needed leading up to the festive season.

“This is a very difficult time for Samoa, and our sympathy goes out to everyone affected, especially leading up to Christmas,” says Lemalu.

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