Midwives continue serving for love of country
Sixteen midwives who have passed the age of retirement are continuing to offer their services to the Ministry of Health in response to a shortage of frontline healthcare workers.
The President of the Samoa Nurses Association, Solialofi Papali'i, told the Samoa Observer that some 56 nurses passed their retirement age were recently honoured for their services to Samoa.
Of those 56, 33 are midwives. Sixteen of those midwives have offered to continue working to help address a national shortage of healthcare workers.
“The ceremony was conducted to honour these old nurses for their services to our people before they decided on their own to stay home,” Mrs. Papalii said.
Mrs. Papali'i is among the nurses who have reached retirement age. But she does not wish to end her service to the association and the nation.
She said Samoa is currently suffering from a severe shortage of nurses, pointing out that there are only 500 nurses for the entire country with a population of more than 200,000.
Asked how the nurses are coping with the extra burdens imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said many are having to work overtime.
Since the beginning of the repatriation flights, nurses were quarantined together with incoming passengers.
They are also continuing to administer Measles, Mumps and Rubella (M.M.R) vaccinations across the country.
“It has never stopped and it will never stop because the children’s years keep changing every year and so do their vaccination types,” Mrs. Papalii said.
Members of the public have become more supportive of the M.M.R. vaccination she said.
Nurses in Samoa are allocated across different health facilities.
They are: the Samoa Family Health; the National Kidney Foundation; the National University of Samoa; the Savai’i hospital; private hospitals; hospitals in Lufilufi and Aleipata, Poutasi Falealili and Sa’anapu, Leulumoega and Faleolo; the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital in Motootua and the Ministry of Health.
As part of Ministry of Health policy, nurses who reach 65 years of age and above are required to file for an extension of their services two months prior to their retirement.