Tonga Health boss denies babies death spike allegations

The Ministry of Health chief executive Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola denies claims there is a recent surging number of deaths of new-born babies in Tonga.

Ministry of Health Chief Executive Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola

Dr ‘Akau’ola said he was aware of the allegations being shared on social media.

He said the Ministry compared this year’s number of deaths to those recorded during the last couple of years. The results suggested a decline in this year’s number of deaths.

He said the number of overall deaths from January to July 2019 was more than 360 while less than 170 deaths were recorded during the same period this year 2022.

He was responding to questions from local journalists during a press conference on Friday.

A journalist said the head pediatrician  Dr Siaosi ‘Aho reportedly said two babies dead, and their mothers were unvaccinated.

Dr ‘Akau’ola told the journalist to confirm her concerns with Dr ‘Aho.

The chief executive’s response came following allegations which had been widely spread on internet by some Tongan Anti-Covid vaccine conspiracy theory Facebook groups.

He said he has yet to receive any complaint from the public regarding any death related matters.

Dr ‘Akau’ola said before a deceased’s body was cleared and released their family agreed with the Ministry to the conditions and results of their deaths.

He believed members of the extended family at some stages made allegations on social media about the cause of deaths.

Dr ‘Akau’ola said there is a legal process available for the public to launch a complaint if they wanted to find out the cause of death.

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