P.N.G. medical emergency firm eyes Samoa

A Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.)-based medical emergency company has expressed interest in extending their services to Samoa and is in discussions with the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.).

Emergency Medical Services (E.M.S. P.N.G.) Managing Director, Dr Luatofa Pulotu McCarthy and Operations Director and wife Taulapapa Lydia McCarthy, were part of a S.T.A.-facilitated stakeholder meeting, where they spoke of the services their company offers in P.N.G. and the potential benefits of offering similar services in Samoa. 

Taulapapa said the medical evacuation of tourists and visitors is one of the services that they provided in P.N.G., especially if there is a need for further medical treatment.

“We are fully aware and understand the downturn in our tourism industry at the moment because of these medical issues that the Samoan Government is dealing with,” she said. “The benefits to our tourists and visitors, there will be affordable access to ambulance evacuations.”

The company is currently in discussions with the S.T.A. on how the system will be set up, she added.

The availability of a medevac service in Samoa will be beneficial for everyone and not just tourists, whom Taulapapa said want to enjoy their vacation in the country, while aware that such a service is available if someone becomes critically ill.

“The immediate access to Medevac services on the ground is crucial, not only for tourists and our visitors, keeping in mind that most of the visitors are our Samoan people who are here for weddings, funerals and reunions,” she added. “When they come here and need this service because they are ill or got into an accident, you would really want to be able to be on standby and be available for them.”

S.T.A. media officer, Su’a Hesed Ieremia, told Samoa Observer that a company offering such a service will be beneficial to tourism in Samoa.

“E.M.S. Samoa will definitely be beneficial for tourism in Samoa. Not only for our visitors but also for our locals. Our C.E.O. got contacted by Pulotu and we try to see the opportunities for our tourism industry so this is us vying for that service to be offered,” he said. “It is really costly but emergencies and accidents do happen. When people face severe cases and are in critical conditions then these sorts of services are needed for our visitors.”

The proposal to set up E.M.S. Samoa is yet to be formalised, according to Mr Ieremia with discussions currently focused on a potential partnership. 

He said residents in Savai’i will also benefit as there are plans to include a local medivac run using a helicopter.

“The ferry that travels between Savaii and Upolu is on a schedule and only operates during the day time. Lydia mentioned that the helicopter that they are trying to bring over to Samoa will provide services at night.”

E.M.S. P.N.G. currently provide air ambulances, land ambulances, medical clinics, contractors operating Port Moresby International Airport/wharf medical rooms, events medical cover, first aid training and a medical emergency call center.

Dr McCarthy said they have operated for close to a decade and know their job when it comes to these specialised services.

“We have been in the industry of emergency services for the last seven years. We have been doing this particular service for a while now and I would like to think that we know what we are doing,” he said. “The aim for today is to be able to work with everybody just like we’ve planned to work with the Samoa Tourism Authority to bring this out to our people. We continue to evolve in a positive way so that the emergency service in our country is one to be proud of.”

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