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Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics help out in Samoa

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Two Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics and a Wellington doctor are heading to Samoa next week to help equip and train paramedics there.

They are also sending several hundred high visibility wet weather Wellington Free Ambulance jackets that the organisation no longer needs.

Byron Williams, Celeita Chippendale and Rosy Fenwicke are all trustees in the Vivere Trust which they set up to help establish an ambulance service in Samoa.

"The Fire Authority in Samoa also runs the ambulance service. We are helping them by sending bandages, medical equipment and the special jackets donated by WFA. We are also going to spend a week training staff in some basic paramedic skills," says Mr Williams.

"When we were last in Samoa we realised that the Fire Authority staff weren’t able to carry out some basic assessments like blood sugar levels. And in Cyclone Evan at Christmas time the paramedics got drenched as they had limited wet weather gear. They were working dressed in anything they could grab to keep the rain out such as a ten dollar yellow plastic poncho!"

Byron and Celeita who are partners as well as paramedics for WFA, launched the Vivere charity after seeing the poor standards of pre hospital care while holidaying in Samoa in 2011.

"Vivere is the first Pacific charity devoted specifically to ambulance care rather than hospital aid. Samoa has just two ambulances and a few fire trucks. The lack of medical training and basic equipment like stethoscopes is shocking. It is all stuff we take for granted here in New Zealand. We spend about 20 to 40 hours a week on the charity and we are paying our own way to Samoa to train people."

The team leaves for Samoa on June 10 and intends spending six days there.

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