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May 10, 2018

TONGAN HEALTH SOCIETY INC BOARD FACILITATES MEDICAL AID TO TONGA

TONGAN HEALTH SOCIETY INC BOARD FACILITATES MEDICAL AID TO TONGA

Tongan Health Society assists with impacts of Cyclone Gita in Tongatapu and Eua

The Tongan Health Society (THS) Board has sent medical aid to Tonga to assist with supplies to the hospitals and community in Tongatapu and Eua.

Dr Glenn Doherty-CEO and Medical Director says the THS Board working with Medical Aid Abroad had sent two containers to Tonga.  Board Chairperson Dr Maika Kinahoi Veikune said that the Board wanted to extend its Tongan Outreach Project scope to assist particularly the hospital in Eua one of the outer island hospitals in the Tongan Group.

The Society Board has since 2014 developed a Tongan Outreach Project in the Kingdom of Tonga working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health, Vaiola Hospital, the National Diabetes Centre and Village Community Medical Centres in Tongatapu.  Dr Doherty had set up a village screening progamme in Tonga working with the Ministry of Health largely for chronic diseases.  A team of visiting primary care specialists had undertaken work in the kingdom over the last few years.  Dr Doherty said the Society was also the only accredited medical centre in NZ with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Accreditation to be able to access the New Zealand Partnerships for International Development Fund.

Society Chairperson, Dr Maika Kinahoi Veikune says that it was important for the Board to assist wherever possible with humanitarian aid for devastated communities in the kingdom that were impacted on in the recent cyclone Gita event, he said the Society constitution also allows for assistance and progammes in Tonga.  The Society has a long standing relationship with Medical Aid Abroad which is a is a not-for-profit charitable trust which assists health work in developing countries, by donating surplus medical, surgical and pharmaceutical supplies.  The Society has also assisted in the 2016 Toloa Celebrations through the Friends of Toloa to fit out the renovated hospital at Tupou College.  HRH Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu was strongly involved in these projects in addition to being the Patron of the Tongan Outreach Project for the Society.

Cyclone Gita caused severe damage throughout Tonga being labelled the worst storm to hit the country in 60 years.  Parliament house had been levelled, roofs had been torn off houses, trees knocked over and churches badly damaged.  Vaiola Hospital had incurred flood damage and Niu’eiki Hospital in Eua had sustained damage to its roof from Cyclone Gita and Keni which meant it had to temporarily relocate to a school and community hall.

Dr Maika Kinahoi Veikune, Dr Glenn Doherty and Clinical Services Manager –Mrs Mele Vaka worked with the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in Tonga and the Chief Medical Officer for Public Health Dr Reynold Ofanoa and Dr Vesinia Matoto –National Diabetes Centre to facilitate the medical, surgical and pharmaceutical supplies to Tonga.

Supplies were also provided to the Paediatric Unit at Vaiola Hospital and the Diabetes Outpatient Clinic.  Dr Doherty said that staff were extremely grateful for the medical, surgical and pharmaceutical aid provided to the outer island Eua and Tongatapu hospitals.  The final consignment was confirmed received by Dr Maleta at Eua Hospital on 4/5/18.