Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

T.B. CASES IN SAMOA HAVE DOUBLED SINCE 2011

The number of Tuberculosis (T.B.) cases in Samoa has doubled since 2011. And although the annual number of new T.B. cases remains “relatively low” compared to the estimated population, the identification and diagnosis of T.B. is poor and screening (especially in remote villages) is limited. 

This is according to Ministry of Health’s sixth annual report to U.N.A.I.D.S.

Obtained by the Samoa Observer, the report shows Samoa’s commitment to the global response to H.I.V., A.I.D.S., and Sexual Transmitted Infections. 

T.B. is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. 

T.B. spreads through the air when a person with T.B. of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks. The report says the number of T.B. cases observed between 2009 and 2011 decreased.

However there was a “sharp increase in cases from 2012- 2015.” 

The report indicates the main challenges in eliminating T.B. in Samoa include increasing testing, training of providers to accurately diagnose and treat T.B., linking individuals to treatment, and increasing public awareness and education of prevention, transmission and treatment, and ensuring all T.B. cases are tested for H.I.V. 

“Though T.B. shares some social determinants in common with H.I.V. and S.T.I.’s, there are a few social contexts that are unique. 

“Since Samoan families are typically large and live in close proximity to each other, exposure to T.B. usually occurs between family members. Family members are also highly mobile between villages, which poses significant challenges to contact tracing, testing and treatment.” 

(Source: Samoa Observer)

A TRAGIC MOTHER’S DAY FOR AELE FAMILY

Mother’s Day weekend was not a time to celebrate for a family at Aele.

Instead, they spent it mourning the loss of a precious life taken as a result of a hit and run incident where alcohol is suspected to have been a factor.

Popese Sipuni, 28, was sitting with a friend on the side of the road when he was struck by a "speeding" vehicle.

An attempt to get a comment from the Police at the time of this report was unsuccessful yesterday. 

But a family member related the chain of events leading up to the incident.

She told the Samoa Observer that Mr. Sipuni and his friend were sitting at the side of the road when the rental car ran him over.

“His friend had a lucky escape but Popese did not,” she said.

(Source: Samoa Observer)

MĀORI SMOOTHIE BRAND TO BE SOLD OVERSEAS

Māori milk company Miraka has signed an agreement with Malaysian distribution company, Storiiu to have the smoothie brand sold in Singapore, Philippines, China and Malaysia.

The company, which is owned by a number of Māori trusts, described kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, as being at the heart of everything it did.

The two smoothie drinks would be available in two flavors — green and berry — and the makers said the ingredients were sourced from around New Zealand.

Whai Ora's nourishment was said to be drawn from the beginning of time through its connection to Papatūānuku, or earth-mother.

At a signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said the deal was evidence of Māori innovation and was "building economic value for the future".

Miraka, which is already exporting whole milk powder and Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) milk products to 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, runs its processing operations on renewable steam from the Mōkai geothermal field.

The by-products created through the drying process are composted at a worm farm, and the worm castings go to a nursery producing native plants for riparian waterway planting.

The Māori smoothie will also be available in New Zealand.

(Source: RNZ)

MAORI AFFAIRS MINISTER BACKS PROPOSAL FOR BILINGUAL TOWNS

Te reo Māori could soon join te reo Pākehā on traffic signs, ATMs or restaurant menus in several New Zealand towns that are considering going bilingual.

Māori Affairs Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said he had had discussions with the mayors of Otaki and Rotorua about the proposal, and Wairoa is already seizing the initiative.

The Māori Party co-leader said the towns have been presented with guidelines on bilingual signage, but it would be up to them to decide how to become bilingual.

He said the proposal provided huge opportunities to celebrate language.

"Street names that might be one part of it. Stop, Go, pedestrian crossings. Could be that businesses adopt the whole notion of going bilingual by having all of their signs both in English and Māori, to invoices in Māori, to allowing checks to being signed in Māori or being printed in both languages, through to signs over the top of ATM machines."

Flavell said the idea came from a trip to Ireland last year where local organizations have bought into the bilingual concept.

He said he hoped to offer funding and support to enable a similar buy-in here.

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