Another team consisting of Doctors, Nurses, Epidemiologists, Environment Officers, a Risk Communication team, and Pharmacists as well as Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) officers. deployed to Temotu Province last weekend have been in the provincial capital, Lata providing support towards the province’s health efforts against widespread COVID-19 community transmission.
This second group replaces the first group deployed to the province from the 13th to 27th of November.
Coordinating the second deployment, as part of support by the World Health Organization (WHO), is Dr. Fletcher-Lartey, WHO Epidemiologist and COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Officer. The team have been working on gaps and issues throughout the week as identified by the first team.
Dr Lartey said their tasks “include supporting the provincial medical team with COVID-19 patient management, setting up computers for the Lata hospital for ICT purposes, assessment of waste management, and assisting with related Infection, Prevention, and Control measures including for dead body management. Pharmacists deployed have also been helping provincial pharmacists on stock inventory and distribution to the outer islands including health promotion and awareness activities”.
As part of the support, WHO is also making assessments and recommendations based on changing situation in terms of coordination and response activities.
Temotu Provincial Health Director Dr. Paul Kekou thanked the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) for the deployment of the second team and WHO for the technical and financial support.
Temotu province was the only province that was able to remain COVID-19-free throughout the first and second wave. However with the third wave last month, it registered its first COVID-19 case in the community on the 5th of November.
Since then the province experienced widespread COVID-19 community transmission with 1,187 cases recorded to the end of November with, several hospitalizations. Most have recovered and discharged with only one to date still being managed at Lata hospital. Sadly, there were 3 death related to COVID-19 as of 28th of November, 2022.
With a population of 26,361 and 19, 182 people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, 14,126 (73.6%) people received their first dose, 11,424 (59.5%) with second dose and 3,320 (17.3%) people with booster dose.
More vaccines have been deployed to Temotu province and the provincial health team with support from national team deployed will vamp up roll out to the islands of Santa Cruz, Reef Islands, Duffs, Utupua and Vanikoro Islands and depending on availability of ships Tikopia and Anuta.