News Item

NZ government and private sector rally to support Samoa as measles crisis intensifies

Media 29 Nov 2019

As Samoa continues to grapple with the measles outbreak, New Zealand have announced that they will send more medical staff and supplies.

The latest package of support includes a third rotation of New Zealand's emergency medical assistance team (NZMAT), further nurse vaccinators, intensive care (ICU) specialists and Samoan-speaking medical professionals.

"New Zealand will deploy up to 15 ICU specialists, as well as Samoan-speaking doctors and nurses to work alongside local Samoan medical staff and other partners to provide relief." New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Winston Peters said.

Mr. Peters also announced that New Zealand will fund an additional 100,000 Measles and Rubella vaccines, a machine to support oxygen production in Samoa's hospitals and provide psychological support for health workers and communities who have confronted distressing cases.

"This is a very difficult time for Samoa, and our sympathies are with everyone affected," Mr Peters said.

A number of appeals have been established to help with relief efforts in Samoa.

New Zealand Samoa Trade and Investment Commission (NZSTIC) Chairman Tuala Tusani has partnered with ASA Foundation and EIF International to set up the Measles Samoa Fund Appeal.

The spokesperson for the appeal says that while more medical supplies from New Zealand and other partners have come through, what is not accounted for is the trauma and social impact that the measles outbreak will have on families and those on the frontline.

"The Measles Samoa Fund Appeal is to support parents like Tuivale Puelua and Fa'aoso Matavale of Laulii who have lost three children to measles. This is so heartbreaking."

"The appeal is free-giving from the heart to the people directly affected with the loss of a child due to the measles outbreak in Samoa. It is administered by a New Zealand senior health professional and ASA Foundation."

Contact Tuala Tusani on 021 022 38663 or email tagaloatusani@gmail.com if you wish to be involved in the collection of hygiene supplies for Samoa or if you wish to donate to the Measles Samoa Fund Appeal.

Image: NZSTIC Chairman Tuala Tusani (pictured centre) with ASA Foundation and EIF International workers. Source: Tuala Tusani

Thumbnail: RNZ Pacific