Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr. Anna-Marie Van Der Merwe is no foreign specialist to Niue especially for the women. As per year, Dr. Anna makes a regular visit to the island to conduct health checkups with the women and their health specifically on the female reproductive system.
BCN News was able to speak with Dr. Anna this morning where she shared her role and how long she has been working with the Niue health department.
“I’ve been coming here since 2016. I first came with Dr. Kara Okesene who everybody knows very well, who worked with me at Counties Manukau as a obstetrician and gynaecologist at Middlemore. That was my first trip and then I came in 2017, 2018, 2019 and unfortunately because of covid I sort of skipped 2020-2021 and then came back in August last year for a visit.”
“That was a short visit that was just a week and I sort of realised, there’s a lot more work to be done. And I decided to come back this year in February as well.”
Dr. Anna told BCN News that one of the significant increases or changes seen over the years is the amount of women with heavy flow menstrual cycles.
“In terms of increasing numbers of women, I see period problems and heavy menstruation. That has definitely increased and I am not sure whether it’s just because people didn’t know that I was coming and didn’t come for a visit or whether that’s actually increased. So I have to look at my research, numbers and data to see if that’s the case but I’ve felt that it has sort of increased quite a bit.”
Dr. Anna arrived on the island last Tuesday and since then, has been seeing up to 15 women each day.
“On average I’ve probably been seeing about 12 to 15 women a day. Unfortunately, my colleague couldn’t come with me because usually I bring a colleague with me and obviously we can see a lot more women and see women a lot faster. But because of the initial flight that couldn’t land for two tries, we then missed quite a few days of that first week.”
“I only arrived here on the Tuesday and I could only start working on Wednesday and my colleague decided not to come and stay back because she had another job to go to. On average about 12 to 15 patients a day. I tried to provide the care as we go. So if patients need any procedures or anything done, I try to do it as we go.”
Dr. Anna will depart the island tomorrow and is looking to return back to Niue for another visit next year.