Two more siblings claimed by measles

A family at Vaitele is mourning the deaths of two babies who they say died from measles-related complications according to hospital staff. 

One-year-old Lologa Samuelu died at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital on Saturday. Two days later on Monday, his three-month-old brother, Isaako Samuelu, died at the same hospital.

The deaths were confirmed by the mother, Rachel Samuelu, during an interview with the Samoa Observer. She said hospital staff told her the children died from side-effects associated with measles.

She said her children were admitted and treated for measles at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Moto’otua.

“We are currently preparing for my sons’ funeral,” she said.

“My family, especially my parents, are the most affected by the loss of my children because they played such a big role in raising them.”

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to contact the Director General of the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.), Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, for a comment have been unsuccessful.

The Government, in an update on Monday last week said there were three suspected deaths from the epidemic, including one adult. But in addition to two other siblings from Lauli'i who passed away last week, this case brings the number of children to have passed away after exposure to measles or suspected to have contracted it to six. 

An email with questions has not been responded to.

In the meantime, Tafoe Samuelu, the boys’ grandmother said she is devastated by the deaths.

“There are absolutely no words to describe how me and my family feel about the loss of our two little angels,” she said.

“A bond has been broken not once but twice, it can never be repaired, just like the pain that is in my heart that I had to say goodbye to my beloved grandchildren.”

The grandmother also confirmed that measles is the suspected cause of death.

 “I witnessed with my own eyes how much my boys suffered,” she said.

“We were told by the doctors that measles played a big role in their health problems, it affected their organs.

 “They [Lologa and Isaako] both had trouble with their breathing; their lungs were affected so badly.

“Our family prayed and fasted every day for their speedy recovery but they are in God’s hands now.”

Despite the devastation, Tafoe said they do not blame anyone.

“We have left everything to God,” she said. “It is with a heavy heart that I only wished Samoa was never affected by measles. This disease has only brought death and sadness to our people.”

Last Saturday, a family from Lauli’i laid to rest two infants: a two-year-old boy who died last week Monday and a one-year-old girl who passed away last week Friday. Measles is also suspected as the cause of their deaths.

The boy Itila, his parents say, was never given a cause of death and had previously been discharged despite later showing symptoms. His sister, Tamara, who died on Friday afternoon, was previously admitted to the hospital with suspected measles. 

Another couple Lanuola and Jordan von Heiderbrandt lost their 14-months old son, Peter, on White Sunday.

According to the last update from the Ministry of Health issued on Thursday last week, as of Monday last week, there were 513 suspected cases of measles in Samoa.

M.O.H. also confirmed that there have been three other measles-suspected fatalities.





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