N.Z. nurses provide training on vaccination

Nine nurses from New Zealand are in Samoa to provide vaccination training and clinical support for their local counterparts.

The nurses from Counties Manukau will be in Samoa for 10 days to roll out a capacity building programme that will focus on how to administer vaccines as well as provide clinical support. 

They will be based in eight district hospitals on the main islands of Upolu and Savai'i.

Tuamanulele Leilani Jackson, the Counties Manukau Pacific Health Development Programme Manager, is leading the initiative under the auspices of the Samoa Health Partnership Programme (S.H.P.P.). 

"The programme is country-driven, which means that Samoa identifies and determines the support required, for the use of allocated funding provided through the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT),” Tuamanulele said in an interview.

“In this instance, we are going to work alongside nurses in their hospitals, providing on-the-job mentoring and coaching in the areas of vaccination and immunization."

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Tuamanulele said the contingent comprises Counties Manukau Health nurses, plus nurses from Southseas, Auckland City Hospital and private practices and are all fluent in Samoan.  

The S.H.P.P. is just one programme managed within the Pacific region by the Pacific Health Development team.

The New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme (N.Z.M.T.S.) scheme is also funded by New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is managed by the Pacific Health Development team.

The programme involves three key components including the Overseas Referral Scheme (O.R.S.), which provides patients with specialist medical treatment not available in their country, Visiting Health Specialists (V.H.S.) who provide medical treatment in the country and Strengthening In-Country Capacity (S.C.C.) providing tailored support to strengthen priority health identified by the country.

Following the deaths of two babies in July last year after they were both administered with the measles, mumps and rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine, the routine was suspended while an inquiry determines if the vaccine itself was to blame.

Ministry of Health Chief Executive Officer, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said training has been conducted for health professionals and new refrigerators are in place to properly store vaccines. With these and other precautions in place, he is ready to resume the vaccination program nationwide, he said.

“M.M.R. is 100 per cent safe,” Leausa said.

“We have a lot of work to win back the confidence of our people to the vaccination process but naturally we have a lot of people coming and requesting the immunization. They are concerned about their children.”

The M.O.H. resumed vaccinations against the M.M.R. from April 15 as well as vaccinated anyone who missed out while the vaccine was suspended.

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