Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) has been engaged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to be part of the official New Zealand response to the measles outbreak in Samoa. We will be working alongside NZMAT, AUSMAT and international colleagues to support our fellow Samoan clinicians in the health system as the Samoan Government responds to the health crisis. We feel humbled to be called to assist.
PMA has 10 years’ experience in responding to humanitarian crisis including Samoa Tsunami, Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, Winston in Fiji and most recently Gita in Tonga last year. In addition, we have also responded to events in New Zealand including the Francie boating tragedy, the Katikati car crash and the Tongan bus crash in Gisborne. As an organisation we also deliver training to many organisations including the New Zealand Fire and Emergency Service Urban Search and Rescue teams on Culture in Humanitarian settings with emphasis in the Pacific region.
We have established our Emergency Operations Center and are currently tasked by MFAT to provide Medical and Nursing Teams and Mental Health Teams in response to the Government of Samoa request. All team members are either Samoan speaking clinicians or have considerable experience in the Samoa Health system.
Our first two teams have been mobilised to work until 16th December following which our second deployment of two teams will be mobilised for the two weeks 16th-30th December 2019. In total we will be mobilising 6 Primary Care Doctors, 15 registered nurses, 5 Psychiatrists, 4 Psychiatric nurses, 2 psychologists and 2 team leaders. This is a total of 34 team members. All rotations are fully staffed at present. In the event of a further request for additional deployments from MFAT and the Government of Samoa we would be pleased to accept registrations of interest from in the first instance Samoan speaking Clinicians and registered nurses with Mental Health, Paediatric, Emergency and ICU experience. We are not able to commit at present to deployment but would prepare people for a possible future deployment if required.
We would like to offer our thanks to the employers who have willingly and graciously released staff for deployment, in particular District Health Boards, the professional associations Pacific GP Network, Pacific Regional Mental Health Study Group, Pacific Psychiatrists, our partners The Samoan Health Mission, Pacific Psychologists and pacific provider organisations such as South Seas Health Care and Manukau Institute of Technology. We would like to thank MEDIC AID Abroad for their assistance in donating equipment and supplies and Air New Zealand for assistance in baggage allowances. Without your help and support we would not be able to assist so readily.
Finally, we would like to commend the incredible work being done in Samoa by our friends and colleagues and the work of the Ministry of Health and Government of Samoa. We stand beside you in these times of trials, we offer to serve you in whatever way is helpful, we pray with you for our families and children.
Once again, many thanks for your offers of support, your prayers and good wishes.