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Child vendor families access medical services

Families of child vendors have access to medical services courtesy of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) and local non-government organisation Wellbeing and Community Solutions (W.C.S.).

Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Louisa Apelu, told the Sunday Samoan that the Ministry works with the N.G.O. which specialises in child protection.

“A part of the social support programmes provided by the Ministry is we work with the W.C.S., which is an organisation that deals with case management in terms of child protection and also provide support services in working with vulnerable families," she said.

The partnership was first funded by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) but was later continued by W.C.S.

Mrs. Apelu said the NGO identified child vendors as evidence of the vulnerability of families and consequently they were support with literary programs and referral systems.

She said the referral program included directing them to nurses and doctors for medical assistance. 

“There are some medical concerns presented from the kids and for the mothers and part of this social programme was to put them in contact with the nurses and doctors - a referral is directing the families to medical assistance.

“It is because most of the times the children will vend without considering any health risks or concerns encountered and so the process starts with the child and mother coming into our ministry and our staff take them directly to the doctor,” she added.

There are times when it is difficult for families to go to the hospitals, consequently Mrs. Apelu said they were taken to traditional healers.

“But they have concerning medical symptoms, which is why they do not go to school. Some of the families did not realise that their kids had a severe health risk without going to the hospital.

“There were some kids who have cases where they are close to having heart problems and with the interventions that led to the preventing from a severe case in the future. 

“At the time the programme paid for the consultations but follow-up visits will be paid by parents and families. But there has been no case where there is expensive expenses and our ministry does follow-up calls to the parents to check-up on their situation," she said. 

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