Hospital guard says epidemic making his job tough

A hospital security guard says the epidemic has made his job tougher, especially when dealing with families wanting to visit patients diagnosed with measles.

A security guard at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital, Vaifanau P. Lealaisalanoa, told the Samoa Observer that dealing with visiting families has become more challenging following the measles outbreak.

The 37-year-old of Falefa said he does his job in line with the laws of the land and Ministry of Health policies, but it has become challenging lately, with members of the public refusing to comply with the rules imposed by the hospital management.

“Our job is to protect the public who are coming to the hospital to visit sick loved ones,” he said.

“Not like before we have to be respectful to the public and now it everything has changed.”

Mr. Lealaisalaona said a lot of people who went to the hospital think they can do whatever they want, which has often led to confrontations with the guard when they wanted to force their way into the wards. 

“Most of the public are really hard to handle because they always want to come to the hospital while the Ministry is allowing people to come because of the spread of measles,” he added.

Visitors to the hospital do not realise that they remain vulnerable to infection when they try to enter without approval, Mr. Lealaisalaona added. 

With the measles epidemic claiming more lives and making the task difficult for health workers, he said Ministry staff such as himself have a responsibility to ensure the risks of infection are minimised and no one gets infected. 

Mr. Lealaisalaona said having the Police assist in manning access into the hospital has also helped himself and other hospital guards, as effective policing of access into and out of the hospital can minimise the risks of infection. 

And with Christmas around the corner, he said he is working 16 hours a day and is not looking forward to the festive season due to the measles epidemic. 

“Well right now I am not into the Christmas spirit, even my normal plan to spend Christmas with my family has to wait because I am here working all the time,” he added.

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