Former M.P.s call for Health chief's resignation

By Soli Wilson 07 December 2020, 10:00PM

Former Members of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai and Faumuina Wayne Fong have called for the resignation of the head of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri. 

Speaking during their weekly bulletin on E.F.K.S. TV2 both former independent M.P.s cited what they alleged were a number of concerning missteps that occurred under Leausa’s watch.

Citing reasons ranging from COVID-19 isolation procedures, last year's measles outbreak, to revelations that a nurse implicated in a pregnant patient’s death remained employed, the M.P.s argued Leausa should step down. 

Last week a coroner said she was shocked that a nurse involved in an inquest over a pregnant 23-year-old mother’s death is still working at the National Hospital in Motootua.

The former Urban West M.P., Faumuina raised concerns about the nurse’s ongoing employment.

“If this has been proven in Court, and only because the family of this woman took the matter to court, how many other matters like this are being buried in the hospital without proper action taken?” said Faumuina.

Faumuina referenced the case of two nurses who were jailed after they were involved in the administration of a fatal mixture of the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine and anaesthetic to two infants in Savai'i.

The M.P.s further questioned the Government’s decision to build a new low-pressure ward at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Moto’otua.

Olo said the location of the low-pressure ward is concerning because of its location at the national hospital where all patients are taken for treatment.

The Salega East Member of Parliament pointed out that the Government had previously designated the Faleolo Hospital to be operated as the place to isolate potential COVID-19 patients as part of preparations to defend against the potential spread of the pandemic.

“Maybe they had forgotten what they had previously said?” Olo said during their weekly bulletin on the E.F.K.S. TV2. 

“There is no explanation why the [two suspected] cases were isolated so close to the crowded town.”

Faumuina called for Leausa’s resignation alleging there were many issues within the health sector, responsibility for which fell squarely on the Director-General’s shoulders. 

“These decisions cannot be obviously unreliable and yet he is still able to sit in that seat, along with everyone else who is in charge of the hospital employees,” he said. 

“We cannot punish others while others roam freely.”

Olo echoed the same concerns and supported the call to have Leausa step down from his position as the Health Director-General position.

Olo suggested the Director-General had not yet been pushed for his "many failures" because he is related to the Prime Minister of Samoa.

Last week the Director-General revealed Government plans to build a low-pressure ward at the national hospital. 

So-called low-pressure wards can manipulate the air pressure in a hospital to prevent contagious illnesses from spreading into other parts of a building.

Rooms with maintained lower air pressure allow outside air to enter into a room but any air that flows out of it must be filtered.

The new ward will have a capacity of 80 patients and will help contain the virus inside the building's walls so that it does not infect others.

The new ward is planned to be built on the current site of the Paediatric Ward.

Olo and Faumuina, previously independent M.P.s, had their seats vacated after they registered to contest the next election for the Fa'atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party, which allegedly fell foul of anti-party switching legislation.

The pair are challenging this decision in a civil lawsuit against the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi, which is expected to be heard this week. 


By Soli Wilson 07 December 2020, 10:00PM

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