Emergency Medical Teams Work Through Christmas

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Dr. Durgavasini Devanath, Emergency Medical Teams Coordinator and Melissa Fidow Information Manager of Emergency Medical Teams Coordination Cell (EMTCC), from the World Health Organization, Apia Samoa.

While Samoa pauses for Christmas, our Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) from abroad continue their service in Samoa.

Coordinator of Emergency Medical Teams Dr. Durgavasini Devanath says there has been an enormous sense of genuine heartfelt solidarity in mounting the emergency response for Samoa and overseas based teams are working through the Christmas period to allow local health care workers to take a break with their families.

“The international EMTs will continue to serve over the Christmas & New Year period and weeks after, with the hopes of relieving some of our Samoan colleagues who have been tirelessly fighting this outbreak since day one prior to the arrival of international support,” said Devanath.

Today on Christmas Day, personnel from 10 EMT teams are back at work as the latest report issued by the NEOC confirms one death with 8 babies and 1 adult being treated at the national hospital ICU.

“There are currently 55 measles cases who are in-patients at all health facilities. Of this, 49 are at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital (TTMH), 3 at the Leulumoega Rural District Hospital, 1 at Lalomanu District Hospital and 2 at the Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital (MTIIH). Admissions include 8 critically ill children and 1 adult in ICU/HDU.”

EMTs from various countries and international organisation partners are being coordinated through an EMT Coordination Cell (EMT-CC), led by Samoa’s Ministry of Health and supported by the World Health Organisation.

The EMTs comprise of a variety of health professionals from doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, physiotherapists, bio medical technicians, and logisticians.

Dr Devanath says that some of the teams have done multiple rotations.

“There has been a total of 39 rotations of teams since the beginning of the operations, totalling 521 international personnel.”

“A total of 20 Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) have been deployed to Samoa to date,” added the EMT Coordinator.

More rotations and teams are in process for arrival to sustain the response while the MOH prepares the transition to recovery.

Health Minister Faimalotoa Kika Stowers Ah Kau has commended the invaluable service of EMTs to Samoa during a measles crisis that has claimed 80 lives to date.

“What you have done for Samoa is immortal,” says Faimalotoa.

“Without a doubt, Emergency Medical Respondents provide an invaluable service. They literally carry lives in their hands, and they tirelessly work to alleviate the suffering of others,” continued the Health Minister.

“Even on Christmas Day, while many are celebrating with their children and families many of you are back on in the hospital wards offering your expertise with no strings attached”.

“And for that, Samoa will be forever in your debt,” said Samoa’s Minister of Health.

A list of EMTs:
• Japan EMT – 2 rotations
• PACMAT – 2 rotations (2 more in the near future)
• UK EMT – 2 rotations
• Norway EMT
• New Zealand Red Cross
• Save the Children – 2 rotations
• AUSMAT – 5 rotations
• UNFPA
• Papua New Guinea
• Samoa mo Samoa Doctors Worldwide – 1 rotation (6 more in the near future)
• French Polynesia – 2 rotations
• Counties Manuka District Health Board (CMDHB) – 4 rotations
• NZMAT – 3 rotations
• MSF
• Hawaii Health Corps
• ADRA
• Israel EMT
• Pacific Community (SPC)

Dr. Durgavasini Devanath, Emergency Medical Teams Coordinator and Melissa Fidow Information Manager of Emergency Medical Teams Coordination Cell (EMTCC), from the World Health Organization, Apia Samoa.