Theft of laptop at hospital disgraceful. There are no other words.

Come on Samoa. What is wrong with some of our people today?  

While the nation continues to suffer as a result of an epidemic that has already claimed 70 lives, some people we find are just disgraceful. There are no other words.

At a time when we need everyone to pull together to help ourselves out of this dark, dark period in our history, it’s abhorrent that some people can only think of ways to make things harder for everyone, especially the Good Samaritans who have left the comfort of their homes and country to help us.

Take for example a very disturbing development that has emerged from the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Moto’otua, which is the subject of a story on the front page of the newspaper, you are reading.

From what we have been told, a critical piece of equipment belonging to the Australian medical team that has been in Samoa to help has been stolen. The equipment is a laptop used for operating the mobile x-ray machine, which is an essential tool for managing the radiography needs of very sick children in the Paediatric ward.

Local doctor, Leituala Dr. Ben Matalavea, first raised the alarm publically.

 “I was so hurt when I found out, I couldn’t believe it,” Leituala said.

Any Samoan with a heart would have felt the same way.  

The worst part is that today, there are at least 16 children in intensive care requiring the mobile x-ray machine, and 159 in-patients with measles across Samoa’s hospitals. In other words, lives literally depend on this piece of equipment.

Leituala said he knew some people would have preferred the whole incident remained secret but he feels strongly that people should know what is happening in their hospital.

The good doctor is correct. We thank him for raising this matter publically.

It’s inconceivable that at a hospital where people are dying and with countless of helpers from all over the world putting their best foot forward that someone would do something like this. It is shameful and disgusting.

We hope and pray that given the publicity surrounding the matter that someone would come to his or her senses and return this laptop as soon as possible. The idea that they would steal it without the charger is unfathomable knowing that by now, that laptop is absolutely useless to whoever took it.

Whoever did this should feel absolutely ashamed of himself/herself. We accept that the actions of an individual do not reflect an entire country but still, this is not a good look for Samoa. It is deeply embarrassing.

Come to think of it, at a time like this when there is so much devastation, you would think some people would lay off committing crime and for once in their lives do something productive to help. Apparently not. When the nation was locked down last Thursday and Friday in a bid to vaccinate as many people as possible, Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, confirmed a number of criminal activities – including people who disobeyed the orders of the state of emergency.

“We did discover some stores that were opened which we had to shut down," he said. “Some people lied saying they were going to the hospital or airport. We could have arrested them but we gave them warnings and documented their information so if it does happen again then we have no choice but to go to the full extent of the law.

 “Other cases include some people who were arrested in trying to break into someone’s home during the day and carrying knives and covering their faces but there were children in the homes.”

Wow. This is extremely sad. Like health workers, the Police also have their work cut out. Since this epidemic has been declared with the orders of the state of emergency, Police officers have also been working non-stop. They need help from all of us. They do not need criminals to make life harder than it already is.

But it’s not just criminals making life harder for the Police and everyone trying to fight this epidemic. Take a simple thing like the order for parents to keep their children at home.

Many parents continue to deliberately ignore this order. They continue to take their children everywhere without a care in the world for their safety and that of others. This is irresponsible, regardless of whatever reason one might have.

We understand that these are not ideal rules. We understand they infringe on freedom of movements and many things people would like to do.

But there is a reason they exist. As of today, 70 people have died as a result of this crisis. This is why these rules exist; they are to try and prevent more deaths.  

The point is that this is a country in crisis. We need everyone to pull together to help ourselves. We have got to try and work with the Government in overcoming this challenge before us. That means obeying the orders and doing the best we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

In Samoa today, we have hundreds of volunteers from all over the world coming to help us. We need to do our part and help ourselves.

Speaking of help, if you know anything about that laptop, please inform the Police. Better still, if you have it, we are begging you to return it to its rightful owner. Lives are depending on it. Please.

Get vaccinated, stay home, obey the orders and may God help Samoa!












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