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Nurses turn to sewn masks amid coronavirus wait

Over 100 reusable face masks have been sewn by the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) staff for local hospital workers’ use at the frontlines amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Samoa Nurses Association Press, Solialofi Papalii, told Samoa Observer that medical workers in countries abroad are experiencing a personal protection equipment (PPE) shortage crisis which is endangering their lives.

She said they decided to be proactive and prepare for the virus by making their own PPE, despite the country being declared COVID-19 free over a fortnight ago.

“We are here for the working conditions and the reason why we initiated this is because of our desires for the safety of all the heath workers, especially after seeing so many overseas health workers crying over the lack of PPE,” she said.

“Some of them gave up and so we thought that we had to prepare. We think globally and we have to act locally in protecting the nurses, in case our nurses and health workers experience the same crisis.”

Mrs Papalii said they decided not to wait for the arrival of the foreign-made personal protection equipment and advised the M.O.H. Chief Executive Officer.

“We also requested the C.E.O that we shouldn’t hold the usage of the PPEs for the COVID-19 to arrive while the health workers are working in an environment filled with various bacteria.”

A group of MOH staff have already sewn over 130 reusable face masks for health workers to use with Mrs Papalii indicating that they are currently looking for appropriate cloth to use to sew more face masks.

And while wearing the face mask has become an international symbol of the global pandemic, Mrs Papalii revealed they wore sewn face masks in the twilight of her nursing career, and it was commonly used by nurses and health workers. 

The Nurses Association head acknowledged that combating COVID-19 is a challenging experience and could become a matter of life and death for health professionals.

However, nurses are ready to commit to the cause for the benefit of the people and country.

“That’s why these things matter so much to us. Our lives count on them,” she added.

A young registered nurse, who did not want to be identified, told Samoa Observer that working at the hospital has its challenges.

“As long as we know our purpose in these hospitals, we can continue our job,” she said.

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