TTM Hospital Security Grateful For Police Presence

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  • Nanai Faleasi Tuala (right) with colleague who is also a team leader Toetu Setefano (left)
    Nanai Faleasi Tuala (right) with colleague who is also a team leader Toetu Setefano (left)

The TTM Hospital security staff are going through a tough time trying to keep a firm control on the general public, who are unaware of the rules under the orders of the state of emergency declared on the measles epidemic.

Angry reactions have at times threatened to escalate into physical encounters but are gratefully averted by the presence of the police officers stepping in.

Team leader Nanai Faleasi Tuala told  Newsline Samoa of the struggle to assert control over so many misinformed and impatient members of the public who turn up at the TTM Hospital.

"Ever since the epidemic started, we have been in a constant struggle trying to please the public,”  Nanai sighed.

 “Our daily routine these past few days is trying to handle people showing up angry and misinformed with the state of emergency requirements on how many people can be in the hospital to care for the sick.

 “People become frustrated with long queues as well and part of our normal work is to  monitor and keep people from forming into big crowds.”

Tuala talked about having to turn away many of the relatives coming to stay with one patient as care givers and the problems they find themselves in when they do.

He said the concern is the risk of more people contracting the measles virus by having too many around the measles patient.

“There is a lot of misunderstanding and some threatened to take their anger out on us rather than understand that it is not us making the rules here.”

Nanai accepted that despite the challenges, he is happy with the strong team they have.

"It's not easy to deal with a grieving nation. But we sympathize and offer our support and help because we don't want to add to the situation we are currently facing.”

Verbal abuse is common for the security officers and there are people who become aggressive to the point where the police take over.

"With are lucky to have the help of police, who help to bring the situation under control by going over once again the orders that are in place under the state of emergency.

"There are people who are understanding but there are hard cases who are so easily aggravated by us giving them the information.

“When we see our safety at risk with physical threats from the like of these people, we retreat and let the police step in which we are grateful for.

The security officers are used to the busy period coming up with the end of the year activities but they  have been under a lot of added strain since the measles outbreak.

“We have dealt with large crowds before but never this crazy.”

Nanai has been working as a guard for six years. Part of his job as a security officer is to also help porter's transport patients to wards.

About 24 security guards rotate in two 12-hour shifts, 12 guards per shift. There is a challenge of short staff according to Nanai but with police officers assigned to the hospital, things have been under control.

"We are strict because we want what is best for the country? We want to contain the measles epidemic within these premises and we don't want people taking the virus out into the community.”