Hospital cleaners go the extra yards

Cleaners at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital at Motootua are going the extra mile to ensure the health facility is hygienic and doesn't compromise patients’ condition. 

The team leader of the hospital’s janitors, Seneueta Ah Ling Lemaota, told the Samoa Observer that their work has become challenging since the declaration of the measles epidemic.

The number of visitors and patients to the hospital has increased dramatically during the past four weeks.

But they are doing their best to ensure the hospital is dirt-free and and this often means working double shifts.

“We’re doing the best we can, I’m on patrol 24/7 around the restrooms, the admission rooms and everything to ensure they’re kept clean,” she said.

“We’ve become strict in terms of shifts, only when the other person comes, then the other one can go but if not, we have no choice but to double shift because we have to monitor the facilities all the time.”

The cleaners’ biggest challenge, according to Mrs. Lemaota is the failure by visiting members of the public and patient guardians, to ensure hospital rules on maintaining hygiene standards are followed.

She said hospital visiting hours by family members of patients are some of their most challenging as they have to put in the extra effort.

Nurse and midwife Robyn Roache Lui-Yen, who is the head of the national hospital’s maternity ward, told this newspaper that their cleaners play an important role in the operation of the hospital.

“I feel for their them and their tiredness and I’ve seen how they do their work. They clean from the front to the back and once they get to the back, the front is already dirty again,” she said.

“At home, we clean out restrooms which we are used to. But here these people have to clean for the sake of millions of people using it and it is also unsafe for them.”

One of the hospital cleaners, who did not want to identify himself, said he is a father and he always worries about exposing his children to infectious disease which he could take home as a hospital worker.

But when it comes to the measles epidemic, he is committed to working harder to ensure the national hospital is hygienically clean and the potential for cross-infection is reduced.

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