As part of the multisectoral team led by the National Disaster Management Office, to Tikopia and Anuta in Temotu Province, for initial assessment and response to communities affected by the recent cyclones, Judy and Kevin, the Ministry of Health emergency response team was able to reach cyclone affected communities in these islands.
The health team comprised of a mix of national and Temotu province health workers, doctors, nurses, public health officers from various departments: clinicians, surveillance, HIV/STI, TB/Leprosy, psychiatric procurement and infrastructure.
The deployment was primarily to conduct health assessment, stock clinic with essential drugs, provide clinical services and distribution of public health items such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) kits and Ready to use Therapeutic Food for malnourished patients especially children including routine immunization.
Based on the initial assessment upon arrival, an increase in diarrhoea cases was noted including spike in the number of skin diseases which may be due to exposure to cold and wet. The assessment also anticipated malnourishment amongst children and also adults in the coming weeks and month due to gardens badly affected by Cyclones Judy and Kevin which is already impacting on their daily diets.
As part of the response, the health team, distributed Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to prevent dehydration and server diarrhoea cases received treatment. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene kits containing soaps and water buckets, etc and Reproductive Health kits were also distributed at household level.
Medicines for skin diseases was also administered to many presenting with various skin diseases. Others with cold related infections also received treatment. Around 210 people were seen by the clinicians and received treatment by the end of the deployment for various sicknesses. A minor operation of a person with life threatening boil on his head was also addressed and the patient is now well and recovering from the surgery.
The team also rolled out COVID-19 vaccines with total of 156 vaccines administered including routine immunization for children and provided the ready-to-use therapeutic food to the communities. Stock of essential drugs for the health clinic in Tikopia was also done.
The Ministry of Health has noted and sincerely acknowledged the well-organized communities of Tikopia and Anuta which has enabled swift and smooth delivery of health services and distribution of health items. Moreover, Anuta community for coming forward to complete their COVID-19 vaccination and opening up their island for shipping services.
The Ministry also thanked the Temotu Provincial Government for their support, National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management and Meteorology, for the leadership role in the response and arrangement for deployments, including members of the multisectoral team, RSIPF, and other line ministries in activation for the response.
Last but not the least, thank you to our Temotu provincial health team under the leadership of the Provincial Health Director Dr Paul Kekou and those deployed to serve our people in Tikopia and Anuta, in the aftermath of the cyclone Judy and Kevin.
The Ministry will continue to work closely with Temotu Provincial Health team to ensure that some of the recommendations captured in the initial assessment is followed through and implemented accordingly one of which includes the follow up visits for replenishment of stock outage of medical supplies.