Sunday emergency sailing in bid to save lives

Despite a ban on Sunday ferry services as part of the coronavirus State of Emergency (S.O.E.), an emergency trip had to be made between Salelologa and Mulifanua on Sunday in a bid to save the lives of two patients.

The patients, who were admitted at the Tuasivi Hospital in Savai'i, required life-saving treatment at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Moto'otua. 

This was confirmed by the Samoa Shipping Corporation's Chief Executive Officer, Leiataualetaua Samuel Phineas.

On Father's day Sunday, he said the Lady Samoa III set out from Salelologa at 11am with the two patients and their accompanying doctors, and arrived in Mulifanua by noon.

Leiataualetaua said during the last few months, one other person has needed emergency transport across the strait on a Sunday.

Unscheduled emergency trips required by medical patients are common, he added, as people on Savai'i frequently need to get to Upolu for medical treatment after hours. He said these unscheduled trips can happen on any day of the week. 

The Samoa Hotels Association (S.H.A.) has previously called on the Government to restart ferry services on Sundays, not only to enable more domestic tourism but also to keep options open for medical purposes.

President, Tupai Saleimoa Vaai, said people in Savai'i see the ferry as an “essential service,” not a luxury.

In 2016, the Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital in Tuasivi was reopened after an extensive refurbishing and expansion project.

It now has an extended Eye clinic, Dental clinic, Pharmacy, Medical record’s room, Emergency room, Maternity ward and Community service rooms, and in total cost $6 million to improve. 

The Ministry of Health has been approached for comment. 

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