Ministry welcomes help from New Zealand nurses

The Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) has welcomed the contribution of eight New Zealand nurses who flew into the country to run vaccination training programmes at different hospitals around Samoa.

Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said the deployment of the nurses is part of the New Zealand Ministry of Health's assistance through the Counties Manukau Area Health Board. 

He said the training will go a long way in helping the Ministry to restore Samoans' confidence in the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations programme. 

"When the tragic events at Safotu happened last year, I was called by the health officials at the Wellington office and headquarters of New Zealand Health offering their assistance. Hence the plan for vaccinators from New Zealand to come down to assist us when we restart our vaccination campaign," he said.

"Eight nurses from Counties Manukau Area Health Board arrived in the weekend and were dispersed to the rural hospitals in Upolu and Savai'i including our main hospital Moto'otua."

Leausa said the vaccination training programme will also help boost the morale of the local nurses.

"And will provide not only extra hands but hands on training on the actual practice of vaccinations and all the safety procedures/precautions. 

"It's important also to update the clinical skills of our nurses in handling the vaccines.This is a hands on demonstration approach. It will help win back the confidence of our people," he added.

The vaccination training programme will show the public that the Government is serious in addressing the vaccines issue to ensure there are no more fatalities in the future, said Leausa. 

Tuamanulele Leilani Jackson, the Counties Manukau Pacific Health Development Programme Manager, is leading the initiative under the auspices of the Samoa Health Partnership Programme.

"The programme is country-driven, which means that Samoa identifies and determines the support required, for the use of allocated funding provided through the N.Z. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT),” Tuamanulele said in a statement.

“In this instance, we are going to work alongside nurses in their hospitals, providing on-the-job mentoring and coaching in the areas of vaccination and immunization."

Leausa said the training will strengthen local health practices and approaches, especially their safety processes and protocols.

"Our local staff will get the chance to work hand in hand with these experienced vaccinator nurse specialists from New Zealand.

"This will also lay the foundation for our local staff to specialize and become specialist nurse vaccinators," he added. 

This is the final month of the partnership between Counties Manukau Area Health Board and Samoa's Ministry of Health. 

Leausa added that they are currently in discussion on a way forward in order to continue these institutional linkages between New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

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