Women fear vaccine deaths

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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DISAPPOINTED RESIDENT: Porita Taisia of Sapapalii, Savaii shared her concern to the Ministry of Health in connection to the deaths of two babies from Safotu District Hospital.

DISAPPOINTED RESIDENT: Porita Taisia of Sapapalii, Savaii shared her concern to the Ministry of Health in connection to the deaths of two babies from Safotu District Hospital. (Photo: Deidre Fanene)

Women have lost confidence in the Samoa public health system following the deaths of two toddlers in Savai’i last week.

A mother and grandmother, Lipena Heremoni of Tulaele spoke to the Weekend Observer saying she has lost confidence in the services offered by the hospital. 

“I have an eight months old grandson and when I heard about this. I quickly called up my son and his wife who were working here to go to Savaii and I specifically said to them not to take my grandson to the hospital ever again even to get immunized,” she said.

“I’m scared because of what had happened to these two babies. And ever since the incident, I have been connecting with my kids and my grandson and I basically begged them not to take the boy to the hospital ever again. I don’t trust the hospital anymore – even the doctors and this goes out to all my family members starting from my children.”

The death of the two toddlers at Savai’i last Friday compelled the grandmother to switch to herbal medicine to treat her children and grandchildren, which she claims are safe.

“I would rather treat them at home with some old fashion herbal medicines than taking them to see a doctor. And because children died from these, I don’t trust any medication or vaccines from the hospital no matter what. I also think it’s about time to bring back the old medicines that our forefathers and mothers had done to heal us.”

Another mother and vocal businesswoman, Moe Lei Sam, blamed the Government for the two fatalities at Savai’i. 

“I always say the hospital should always prioritize the patient no matter what. I know I have been complaining about so many things but most of my complaints it’s about the service at the hospital and now two innocent lives have been lost because of the carelessness of the hospital. But what happened in Savaii I heard from the news that the children are only seen by the doctor once a week. What is this? What if there is an emergency? What I see is that what happened I don’t think it’s the carelessness of the nurses but I strongly think it’s where they store these vaccines.”

She said the vaccines could have expired due to Samoa’s hot climate, but not before scrutinizing the Government’s decision to host the Pacific Games next year. 

“Look, the Prime Minister and the Government is prioritising these games next year when he should be prioritising the hospital. I have already mentioned this before and what did Tuilaepa say? The hospital is not a paradise and now look if it’s not a paradise then what should we call the hospital? A death house? Because people are dying not only adults but also children. It also seems like he (Prime Minister) is blaming the nurses and doctors, but I believe if the condition of the hospital is not good then this is the result.”

Another mother, Lei Sam, blamed the Minister for Health and Member of Parliament of Safotu District saying she should be on top of issues such as medication and vaccination

“The other person that should be blamed for what had happened is the Minister of Health and the Member of Parliament of Safotu District because she should be on top of all these issues whether the medications and vaccinations are okay in terms of temperature as well as where these things are stored,” she said.

Porita Taisia of Sapapalii Savai’i said she feared for her nieces and nephews and she has lost trust in the health system. 

“I am not a mother but I have nieces and nephews and I say that I will never trust the health system again. Even if they say these are the vaccinations that protect the child from diseases, I would not dare to trust them again and the reason is how can they say these vaccinations will protect the children and yet these are the same vaccinations that killed these two innocent children? So which one is it? Is it supposed to protect the children or kill them?”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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