A team from the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team (NZMAT) arrived on the island on the NZ Defence Force C-130 Hercules on Tuesday this week.
The team will be on the island for two weeks and will be working closely with the Niue health department to help support the island’s health response to Covid-19.
The team consists of nine members; one mission lead, three doctors, three nurses and two supporting logisticians from New Zealand’s Fire and Emergency.
Team mission lead Martin Buet spoke with BCN news yesterday afternoon who shared the purpose of their trip to the island.
“The current (Niue) health team have been working exceptionally hard for a long period of time and this will enable some of them to get a bit of respite from that stage. But also to be able to work with them to do extra SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) around how it could be managed, as fine tuning.”
“It’s a lot of the business as usual but there might be some outreach to the community and that might be in notifications on how to manage various things, understanding that it’s very new here in Niue,” says Martin.
Some of the team members have had experience in Pacific Island countries supporting their health systems with its Covid-19 response.
“Primarily it’s supporting the existing health output. We understand that they have been under the pump for a long time and for their general welfare if we can give them some little stand down time and also work to get some other processes and share our experiences.”
Martin says that the experiences of both Niue’s health department and their team would enable them to learn from one another.
“A lot of the people making up this team have also worked during the Cook Islands support and response there and have a lot of Pacific island experience and obviously we’ve got New Zealand experience of Covid unfortunately. So I think blending it, we’ve equally got a lot to learn about how it is done in Niue because in fact the islands have always got something to teach us.”
The team will be based at Niue Foou Hospital and will be working on the island for the next two weeks.