Deputy Director of Health Condemns False News on Facebook


08 August 2019, Apia Samoa. The Ministry of Health has issued a statement to clarify the circumstances around the death of a week old baby girl at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital yesterday.

Ministry of Health Deputy Director General of Clinical Services, Tevaga Dr Ponifasio Ponifasio has condemned a social media post by a relative of the baby’s mom for causing panic and confusion as well as a tidal wave of criticism from a misinformed Samoan public.

Tevaga Dr. Ponifasio expressed grave concerns about the false news being dessimated on Facebook by a relative who had visited the hospital and taken photos which were later posted with incorrect information.

Dr Tevaga says it is irresponsible to publicise false information as it causes unnecessary panic amongst parents.

“She has used Facebook to post information that misleads the public and demeans the work of the Health Department.

“O lenei tala ua pa i le Facebook ua fai ma mea ua faaleaga ai uma galuega lelei a le auaunaga a le Soifua Maloloina.

“Ua fai ma vaisū a tagata i le social media le faasalalauina atu o mea e sese ma mea e lē moni.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to address this issue and put the public at ease,” said Dr Tevaga.

“Our sincere condolences to the mother and the family for God’s calling on their baby;

Dr Tevaga explains that twin girls were born to a 20 year old mother on the 30th of July by cesarean section and there were many complications at birth.

“The medical staff prepared for the twins in the best way possible. They were delivered and both babies were placed in the intensive care unit where doctors closely monitored the abnormal breathing of the older baby;

“On the second day, we started to see baby’s condition worsen with recurring episodes of desaturations;

Dr Ponifasio says that medical testing including an echogram showed baby had respitory distress (sepsis) and patent ductus arteriosus (heart condition).

Dr Tevaga says the medical staff had done all they could.

“Baby was given oxygen through special C-PAP machine and  kept inside an incubator while her antibiotics were administered by IV.”

“Ua uma suesuega e faaletonu le mama ma e maua foi i le mai fatu le pepe.”

“Sa fai lava togafitiga fa’afoma’i ma fa’amanavaina fo’i o ia (pepe ua maliu) i le masini fa’apitoa ma le okesene (C-PAP machine). Sa tausia o ia inside an incubator e maua ai le mafanafana i le ICU fa’apitoa. Sa fai fo’i ona IV access e fesoasoani i le faiga o togafitiga antibiotics.”