Hospital restriction sees group stopping work

By Edward Enoka 03 December 2019, 2:00PM

The rising death toll from the measles epidemic has led to the Samoa government restricting access at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital at Motootua. 

Consequently, non profit groups and their army of volunteers – who have been supplying cooked meals at the national hospital as well as distribute gift packs – have been ordered to stop their daily programmes until further notice.

One of the volunteer groups, Helping Hands, advised in a post on their Facebook page on Sunday night that they have been asked by the government to stop their services until further notice.

The stop work order is to prevent the further spread of the measles virus and other communicable diseases, and that all food donations will now have to be given to hospital staff to distribute themselves. 

The Samoa government’s restriction order reads as follows:

  • There will only be 1 person allowed to stay with a patient at the hospital at a time

  • All meals donated will be handed to the hospital kitchen staff for distribution

  • Any outside food is not permitted anywhere within the hospital

  • Hand sanitizers must be used before entering or exiting the hospital and

  • Direct donations to patients within the hospital are no longer allowed

Personnel from the group sought clarification from the authorities after the restrictions were handed down, and they’ve been asked to give all donations they received to the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC).

The group later expressed concern in a Facebook post, saying their operations complied with the hygienic requirements of health authorities and these included the regular use of hand sanitizers, the wearing of gloves and masks when entering and exiting the hospital, and contact with families and nursing staff outside of the wards. 

They later deleted their Facebook post that expressed their concerns on the matter and said they did not wish to start a debate or take away from the importance of National Emergency Operation Center.

“We respect and understand all the procedures that the Ministry of Health are taking to fight the spread of measles. We are trying to be informative to our donors, and that if we have done so in a way that may offend anyone, please, it is not our intention at all.”

They said they are working together with the hospital and they have faith that all will be well as they wait for guidance to continue to serve during the measles outbreak. 

By Edward Enoka 03 December 2019, 2:00PM
Samoa Observer

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