Ministry waiting for post-mortem results

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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MINISTER OF HEALTH: Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama.

MINISTER OF HEALTH: Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The Ministry of Health is still awaiting the results of a post-mortem that was done on the two toddlers from Savai’i who died after they were vaccinated early this month.

Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, said this in an interview with the Samoa Observer and added that an overseas specialist did the post-mortem.

“At the moment investigations are still continuing and reports in connection to the post-mortem examination that was conducted two weeks ago have already been sent overseas, so we are still waiting for the results of that,” Tuitama said.

“Just like what the C.E.O. of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said, the Ministry is still trying to find out what went wrong that resulted in the deaths of the two toddlers. So it’s very hard for us to say anything else at this stage because we haven’t got any results of what and where did it go wrong.”

The death of the toddlers at Savai’i led to parents refusing to take their children for vaccination, which the Minister acknowledged as a major challenge facing his Ministry.

“However, we also have to look at how important these vaccinations are especially towards the children. All these vaccinations including the M.M.R. are very important because they protect children from all kinds of diseases,” he added.

“And that is why we have vaccinations to protect children from all kinds of diseases. So if parents’ refuse to take their children to get vaccinated, then it’s hard for the Ministry to solve this problem. And we cannot hide the fact that there will be parents who will forever refuse to take their children to see a doctor or get vaccinated, because of what happened and we do not blame them for making such decisions. This is why the Ministry is eager to find out what really happened to these toddlers.”

The Ministry has lost the trust of the ordinary people with Tuitama indicating that they were working hard to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again. 

“If we can gain back the trust of the people and be able to tell them that this happened because of this and we are working very hard to ensure that this will not happen again in the future and be able to prove that this will not happened again in the future then surely we will be able to gain back the trust from the parents.”

He warned that refusal by parents to get their children vaccinate made them vulnerable and could affect their health. 

“So at this stage we can only encourage parents to get your children immunized despite what happened. We are doing all that we can so that we can to provide answers to all your questions and instill that confidence in the health system again. But with these vaccinations, Samoa is not the only country who uses these vaccinations it’s the whole of the Pacific including New Zealand and Australia. M.M.R. is a vaccination that is supplied from the World Health Organization as well as the U.N.I.C.E.F.  because they are ones who are funding these vaccination because they are expensive.”

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