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Australian group here to help Samoa fight measles

A team from Australia has arrived in Samoa to assist the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) with the measles epidemic that has gripped the nation. 

The Samoa Observer understands that M.O.H. is taking the lead on communications with the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) about their visit.

The group is made up of a team leader, paediatrician, epidemiologist, and logistician.

Samoa Observer sources at the Malietoa Tanumafili Hospital at Tuasivi confirmed that the team was in Savai'i yesterday, accompanied by senior health officials including Tevaga Dr. Ponifasio Ponifasio and Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen. 

They are scheduled to be back in Upolu this week.

On Tevaga's Facebook page, he updated a photo of the team in Savai'i with the caption, "The Australian Medical Team has arrived to assist our M.O.H. staff with the measles epidemic in Samoa."

The photos also reveal that the Associate Minister of Health, Tofa Foleni Lio, was with the team in Savai'i.

According to the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre of Australia, AUSMAT  are multi-disciplinary health teams with a combination of doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire-fighters (logisticians) and allied health staff such as environmental health staff, radiographers and pharmacists.  

"They are designed to be self-sufficient, experienced teams that can rapidly respond to a disaster zone to provide life saving treatment to casualties, in support of the local health response."

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