Don't swim in flooded areas: health chief

The Ministry of Health Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, has warned members of the public against swimming in flooded areas in Apia to minimise the risk of infection.

The Government’s health chief says personal hygiene is critical to maintain one's health and this is important for residents who live in the town area, where wastewater flows were inundated by floodwaters in the heavy rain on Wednesday.

“No one can see it [wastewater] because of how dirty the water is and personal hygiene is important,” Leausa told the media during a press conference on Thursday. “You need to clean your hands and for children that like to swim [in flooded areas] like it’s a swimming pool, but it’s not healthy.”

The public has also been urged to boil their water before drinking as Leausa says it is not safe and the water should be boiled to eliminate bacteria.

With some rural villages connected to the Independent Water Scheme, Leausa recommended that all water is boiled and water catchment should be used to collect rainwater. 

Other safety measures highlighted by the head of the M.O.H. included an appeal for the public to treat tetanus, which is a disease caused by bacterial toxin that affects a person's nervous system. 

An untreated infection from a small cut can become toxin, says Leausa,  and is a risk especially for those who are yet to get the tetanus vaccine. 

“Our district hospitals are on alert with doctors stationed at the hospitals for the public,” he assured. “Operations at the national hospital is normal meaning that if your appointment was scheduled for this time it’s scheduled as usual. There was no announcement to say that such has changed.” 

Leausa added that even after flooding the public should be vigilant of waterborne diseases and says he expects children being taken to hospital with diarrhea and flu.

He said even when the flooding stops there are still patients being admitted at the hospital for waterborne diseases. 

National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) interim Chairman, Agafili Shem Leo, in an update on Wednesday’s flash floods confirmed that there were no water disruptions and there are no fatalities.

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