Basic, basic services

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

In flicking through the pages of your newspaper yesterday, a letter titled “Who, what and why is this?” on page 13 written by one “Tagi Fatu Nutimomoia” caught the attention. 

Let me quickly tell you why.

Isn’t it downright sad that while there are people like this man suffering from the failure of the government to provide such basic services and yet the government is continuing to waste millions of tala on projects that fail? As if that’s not bad enough, we then have millions of tala that have been wasted by negligence, abuse and corrupt practices that have clearly been identified. 

What’s important to note is that when public officials in positions of power opt to satisfy their whims at the public’s expense, the rest are unfairly denied of their rightful share. The poor among them suffer the most. 

In other words, we all suffer.

Now, the letter by “Tagi Fatu Nutimomoia” is heartbreaking.

“Ambulance service is one of the lifelines that gives hope to people in the darkest of times,” he writes. 

“The basic needs and procedures are of top priority when it comes to these services. My sad encounter with our Ambulance Service was one that could’ve saved my loved one’s life and above all, the dependence on it was great as I understood (supposedly) the needs and procedures it could provide.”

According to the letter, the Ambulance arrived two minutes after the letter writer’s loved one passed away. But it gets worse.

“My hope was still there as I understand the paramedics will be there to try and resuscitate them at least and so I clung to that hope,” the letter continues.

“The two Hospital personnels jumped out and then I told them the situation and asked if they could try and get my loved one back. 

“The look of dismay, confusion and blankness showed on their faces followed by “Oh, we were just told to come and pick up the body, I’m just a driver and my other colleague here is a security guard”, no paramedics.  

“In this instance my feelings came crashing down, a mixture of hatred, disappointment, sadness and above all, loss of hope.”

Who can blame him? Can you put yourself in his shoes? What would you do? Imagine that?

The letter continues: “Of course I do not blame these employees as they were only there doing their job (supposedly); but the question that boggled my mind was; “Who should be looking out for these kinds of things?”, “Who deals with these services and procedural undertakings?”, “Who, What and Why is this?”

Well the simple answer is that the government is responsible. Yes we are talking about government officials who are paid by taxpayers monies to provide these services. If the services are bad, then we can’t blame anyone else, can we? 

 Now in the letter writer’s search for answers, he contacted the hospital.

“I decided to call the hospital’s Corporate Service to ask if they have any Procedural Manual outlining their services such as the Clinical Procedures and Guidelines from St. John hospital in New Zealand which was on the internet, readily available. 

“Upon asking I was met with “Who is this?”, “Where are you calling from?”, “Is this an organization?”, “What for?”. After getting transferred, the same set of questions were asked and from the background I could hear “Do we have a Manual?”. I opted to not call again after they referred me to another personnel.”

That’s just so typical, isn’t it? All those busy bodies for what again? For nothing!

 The next part of the letter is spot on.

“We understand our great belief that “If it’s God’s time to call His children, then we cannot stop it”. But I believe that God also gave us a chance to make right what needs to be done to help another life on this earth. 

“This letter is not intended to bring back the past as I know our loved one has been called, but a call to those that have the power on making these services a hope for our people to see what needs to be done. 

“I commend some of the work the hospital has put in, services and facilities, but these basic, basic needs should not be overlooked as it could definitely save or have saved a life.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot agree more with this letter.

How many of our people have died under such circumstances? 

What’s the point of having those multi-million-tala facilities when basic, basic services are unavailable? 

The point is that while government has been so reckless with our taxpayers’ monies, there are people suffering from the poor level of basic services such as the one highlighted in this instance.  And let’s not forget signs of poverty and growing hardship that we see everywhere. 

The stories of these people are ones of a perennial struggle to cope with today’s crippling cost of living, where in doing so they know they must resort to austerity measures to get by; for them there is not a glimmer of hope in sight.

And here we have a government that seems content to just let these millions slip by the wayside as if it’s normal. 

Ladies and gentlemen, as a people, as a country, we need to wake up. This is not normal especially when people are suffering. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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