HMS Te Mataili preparing to leave for Nanumaga on Monday night this week
(Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi)
An outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting is now being reported from the island of Nanumaga, the second furthest island in the north of the Tuvalu Islands from the capital and is has so far claimed one life.
The Chief Nursing Officer in the Princess Margaret Hospital, Mrs Filoiala Vete was interviews by KMT News this morning and she said that the Patrol Boat ‘HMS Mataili’ left for Nanumaga last Monday evening with a team from the Health Department. The team comprised of a doctor, Dr Christine Lifuka, and an officer from the lab, Ms Naomi Maheu, Staff Nurse Sieni Lapana and Mr Peia Tefau from the Sanitation Department.
The ‘HMS Mataili’ is still at Nanumaga allowing time for the team to carry out an assessment of the situation there. The team will collect samples and also conduct a training workshop to assist the islanders in containing the outbreak. She said, the cause of the outbreak of this disease is not known yet, and when the medical team returned to the capital, they will make an analysis of the samples and perhaps they will be able to identify the disease and its causes. If the disease is known and if the outbreak is out-of-control, the World Health Organization will be informed for its immediate action.
Mrs Vete confirmed that there were 46 cases and mostly children that have been reported so far and for today, there has been no new cases being reported. She added that there had been no reports of similar cases on the other islands in Tuvalu.
The HMS Mataili will remain on the island Nanumaga until the medical team has got the required samples.
KMT News has learned that the Health Clinic on the island was destroyed by Cyclone Pam in March 2015 and a new health clinic is yet to be built. In the meantime, part of a clan’s community hall is being used as a temporary health clinic. The community, in fact has already requested for a new health clinic to be built and the government is making plan for the building of the new and a much better and well equipped health clinic for the island.