19 Dec 2012

5,000 emergency tetanus doses on way to Samoa

1:44 pm on 19 December 2012

Aid agencies have ordered in emergency supplies of tetanus vaccines for Samoa following the devastation caused by Cyclone Evan.

The World Health Organisation and UNICEF are working together to provide an initial 5000 doses against the potentially deadly disease which enters through open wounds.

The WHO's representative in Samoa, Dr Yang Baoping, says authorities are also monitoring for outbreaks of diarrhoea and respiratory disease due to sanitation problems and crowded living conditions.

He says vaccine supplies overall are adequate but those already suffering chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension are placing additional pressure on the health system.

"They may have lost their medicines during the cyclone. The people need to be treated daily, so if they have lost their medicine, that can worsen their situation. So we have to provide services at this moment to the patients who are already suffering from chronic diseases."

Dr Yang says the Ministry of Health is working hard to monitor potential disease outbreaks.