PACMAT Update 3

PACMAT Update 3
13th January 2020

The Pasifika Medical Association Emergency Medical Team (PACMAT) has now completed two full rotations and is halfway through its third rotation in Samoa in response to the measle epidemic and call from the Samoa Government for Emergency Medical Teams.

In total the combined Primary Care and Psychosocial teams have seen 6,811 patients and undertaken 8,845 consultations. This has included delivering 1,544 vaccinations, working at Leulumoega and Poutasi District Hospitals and Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital. The Psychosocial Mental health team have seen 996 people who required additional support and have delivered 8 training sessions on tools to respond to trauma and distress. In addition, the team provided psychosocial support for staff who have been working under pressure for many weeks.

The teams are comprised of senior experienced clinicians, doctors and nurses all of whom have either worked extensively in Samoa and whom speak Samoan. This has enabled the teams to be fully functioning from the first day. The teams describe the incredible work that their local colleagues have been doing and the joy in renewing old friendships. Currently we have deployed 75 staff comprising of GPs, Specialist paediatricians and Paediatric Intensivists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Primary Care Nurses, NICU and Paediatric Nurses, Psychiatric Nurses, Team coordinators and Logisticians.

Prior to Christmas we received many messages of support from partners and supporters. Leeson Ah Mau current Warriors and New Zealand Kiwis player and ex Toa Samoa Captain dropped into the office to give us a message of support for the work being undertaken.

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Over the Christmas period our teams distributed gifts to staff, patients and families spreading cheer throughout the hospital and providing the opportunity for their colleagues to have a short break with their own families. Staff describe being away from their own families as a small sacrifice to enable them to serve Samoa.

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The current rotation is being led by Dr Teuila Percival Specialist Paediatrician and Board member for Pasifika Medical Association group and Dr Staverton Kautoke Psychiatric Registrar and Board Member for ETU Pasifika- an Integrated Primary Care Service and part of the PMA group. They are supported by Dr Junior Ulu as team coordinator

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We were honoured to be invited to the ADRA Thanksgiving Concert and were acknowledged for our contribution alongside AUSMAT. Hon Aupito Viliamu Sio Minister for Pacific Peoples also joined the group for that event.

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Once again we would like to thank our partners the Samoa Mission and Samoa Nurses Association who have been assisting with recruitment, MEDIC Aid Abroad who have been providing donated supplies, AIR NEW  ZEALAND who have assisted in transporting excess luggage for the teams and Canterbury District Health Board, Auckland DHB and Starship Hospital and Waitemata DHB for your strong support.

We thank all those employers who have released staff so generously to be deployed: Otahuhu College, ETU Pasifika, Three Kings Accident and Emergency, Southseas Healthcare, St Basil Facility -Melbourne, Monash Health Community – Melbourne, Safe fNetwork, MedCall Health, Tamaki Health, Fulton Hogan Ltd, Otago University, Canterbury DHB, Southern DHB, Waikato DHB, Hutt Valley DHB, Capital and Coast DHB, Hawkes Bay DHB and Counties Manukau DHB.

Once again heartfelt thanks to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for your support for this work and for enabling us to be part of New Zealand’s support to Samoa.

We thank everyone for the expressions of willingness to serve and advise that we no longer require staff as our final deployment will commence on the 12th of January to the 26th January and the rotation team is currently complete.

We continue to be humbled by the opportunity to serve.

Mrs Debbie Sorensen
CEO Pasifika Medical Association