20 December 2019, Apia – The bid to achieve country-wide coverage for the measles mass vaccination campaign has received a much-needed boost, in the form of Information Technology equipment that will be used in district hospitals.
Fifteen laptops and 15 webcams were today handed over to the Ministry of Communications
and Information Technology as part of the Government’s Digital Transformation programme,
to be placed in each district hospital. Training on how staff can best use this equipment will
also be provided.
“With our resilient ICT infrastructure and high speed connectivity over the Samoa National
Broadband Highway Network (SNBH), these equipment will enable live medical consultations
between the district hospitals and medical centers to the main hospitals at Moto’otua and
Tuasivi; consultation on emergency measles cases; live urgent medical video conferencing
from all sites; concurrent online meetings; and also at this time of emergency, the Prime
Minister, Ministers and leaders could broadcast a live message or word of encouragement to
all the workers and employees at all Health Clinics,” said Afamasaga Lepuia’i Rico Tupa’i,
Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
The equipment, including software and costs for an IT consultant, were provided by the
United Nations Development Programme, under the United Nations’ Central Emergency
Relief Fund, CERF. The international funding request as part of the CERF Appeal was
headed by the UN Resident Coordinator as well as providing continuous coordination of the
“The United Nations team in consultation with the Government of Samoa identified a series
of gaps that the health system must address to prevent outbreaks in the future and make
sure people have access to medical information when they need it. Among such needs, real-
time tracking of immunization to help families to follow the routine vaccination schedule and
keep their children away from health risks in the future is critical. UNDP’s immediate action to
provide IT equipment to district hospitals will strengthen vaccination monitoring capacity and
will build medical history for each and everyone in the country. Accurate and timely available
data on vaccination saves lives,” said Simona Marinescu, UN Resident Coordinator.
“I believe that the capability of the district hospitals and clinics to give accurate and timely,
life-saving treatment to their patients will depend on having these equipment on hand, and I
am very pleased that UNDP has been able to provide this assistance to the Ministry of
Health through MCIT,” said Jorn Sorensen, UNDP’s Resident Representative.
There are about 13 district hospitals and medical centres servicing remote areas around
Unlike the main hospitals at Moto’otua and Tuasivi, they don’t have regular access to doctors and medical staff. This has been identified by the government as a hindrance to the accurate and timely diagnosis of patients arriving at the facilities.
There are not enough doctors to be present at every site, so the nurses are the only ones
dealing with the public on a daily basis, hence the need to enable them to connect the patient
to a doctor in the main hospital so that an assessment and diagnosis can be made.
Using Samoa’s National Broadband Highway, the nurses will be able to focus a camera on
the patient at the district hospital for the doctor at Moto’otua or Tuasivi to see and talk to
them in real time. The faster connection via Fiber Optic and LTE connection over the SNBH
would help facilitate an accurate diagnosis.
The number of cases that were presented at remote district hospitals with measles
symptoms during the ongoing measles outbreak, where there was no IT equipment to enable
this crucial interaction to happen, prompted a request from the Government to UNDP for
The new IT equipment will also help decentralize digitization of vaccination records in each
district hospital to reduce the burden at the TTM Hospital, Moto’otua where currently all
paperwork is being processed. The Web-Based Realtime Database System that this
equipment will enable will improve monitoring of immunization within Samoa’s Mass
Vaccination Campaign and prepare medical history data to be integrated in the e-Health
Source : UNDP & MCIT Joint Media Release
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