Supporting the fight against measles in Samoa

06 December 2019

Dr Teuila Percival with NZ and local medical staff.

Samoa is currently grappling with a devastating measles epidemic, with the death toll rising. There is a mass immunisation campaign currently underway to vaccinate all of Samoa’s population against measles.

SouthSeas Healthcare Chair Dr Teuila Percival is amongst the New Zealand medical assistance team stationed on the island of Upolu to support wherever they can, especially caring for children in critical condition.

With increasing hospital admissions more help is needed.

SouthSeas Healthcare CEO, Lemalu Vaisola-Sefo says the situation is extensive. “The measles outbreak is proving overwhelming for Samoa and a door-to-door vaccination campaign has begun to combat the deadly measles epidemic for the whole of Samoa.”

“The numbers keep rising and our hearts go out to the parents who have lost their children. We also feel for the people on the ground making sure that the families, and especially the children get the support and care that they need."

“Our heartfelt condolences for our families in Samoa as they fight against measles and our prayers and thoughts for all the children in Samoa, especially our loved ones who have been lost to measles.”

The support from New Zealand and other countries around the world is still pouring in at this difficult time for Samoa.

“We are looking at deploying some of our medical staff to help wherever they can in the next fortnight. This is absolutely essential for us. We need to make sure we can help and assist where we can as quickly as possible," says Lemalu.

The Samoa government has ordered a two-day shutdown which will allow health volunteers to visit every home in its bid to vaccinate the masses against a disease that has so far claimed over 60 lives, with more than 4000 confirmed cases of infection.

During the shutdown, everyone has been encouraged to stay at home and let mobile vaccinators come to them.

The two-day shutdown is from 4 to 5 December from 7:00am to 5:00pm.

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