A fully furnished, well-equipped Mercedes Ambulance with medical supplies that could be helping residents of Savai’i who live near the Sataua District Hospital remains stuck in Apia.
Gathering dust and rust at the Fire and Emergency Services Authority compound in Apia, the Good Samaritan who offered the Ambulance, Mauga Dr. Harlich H. Stavemann, is set to return to Germany without seeing his donation in action.
Mauga, through his charity Harlich Stavemann Stiftung, had brought over the Ambulance and important medical equipment for the new Sataua District Hospital.
However, between him and the government, they not been able to settle on a date to conduct the official hand over. Mauga and his wife are scheduled to leave on Sunday and they will not return until November.
“The ambulance has been here since January,” Mauga told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“Unfortunately, it was not possible for the Office of the Minister to find any date to do the hand over. The ambulance is stuck now until we come back in November. It has not been possible to agree on a date so everything is stuck.
“I feel very sad about it because of the money involved and as well as there is no help for the guys in Sataua which I think it most important. If the ambulance is needed; there is no ambulance.”
Mauga said he would love nothing more than to give the Ambulance to the hospital at Sataua as he believes that is where it is most needed.
“I am sad about that it wasn’t taken as important enough that there was no way to hand it over.
“Since January they knew we were leaving and we got a date for Wednesday this week and then I got another phone call saying it has been postponed until next week. We will be gone by then. Everyone knew that.”
Mauga said he has been dealing with the Ministry of Health and other officials.
“Right now the ambulance is sitting with F.E.S.A and blocking their space.
“I still try but I get no response from the Ministry of Health to at least hand over the goods to the new hospital. It’s very hard to get a reply from them.”
The Ministry of Health was contacted for a comment. At press time, no response was forthcoming.
Mauga is a Board member of a non-government, non profit charity called Harlich Stavemann Stiftung out of Hamburg which has a subdivision aptly named “Mauga Aid”.
Mauga Aid has donated before.
Last year they sent over an entire container filled with equipment for the firefighters of F.E.S.A.
This time, Mauga said the prolonged delayed has crushed his spirit to help.
“It’s not encouraging for my foundation and I think other foundations as well to send stuff,” he said.
As a village chief from Vaisala, where he has called home for more than 20 years, he wanted to help look after his people.
After visiting the new Sataua District Hospital, he knew that something must be done.
“When we visited it, we saw there was hardly anything inside,” he said.
“I was talking to the head nurse and we were discussing the needs there. There was a doctor from the Philippines, but government decided not to extend his visa so there is no doctor but some nurses. There was no ambulance at the time.
“Two years ago, when the new district hospital at Sataua was built, we realised there was no ambulance within this area and people in need had to order one from Tuasivi, get transport on a pickup - or even die, if no help was available.”
This realization prompted Mauga into action.
He discussed with his charity to help his people and bring an ambulance from Germany to Samoa.
“The value of the ambulance is about $90,000. It’s from Germany, a Mercedes Ambulance which is fully equipped and the ambulance was loaded with equipment for the hospital. Things they needed most.”
Originally from Germany, Mauga fell in love with Samoa back in 1983 and kept coming back ever since.
“I’m a traveller and I decided to visit a friend in ‘83 and when I came here to see them I liked the place and came back and came back.”
Mauga is a Psychotherapist and divides his time travelling between Germany, Upolu and Savaii.
“I’m a scientific writer as well. From November to April we are, my wife (Vera) and my self, we both work in Germany and here we do our preparations.”