Grieving family loses third child to measles

A family still mourning the death of their two children a fortnight ago in suspected measles cases have lost another child.

The Tuivale family of Lauli’i has confirmed the death of 14-month old, Sale Tuivale, close to two weeks after the passing of his twin sister and 2-year-old brother. 

The father of the three deceased children, Tuivale Puelua Luamanuvae, told the Samoa Observer his 14-month-old son died on Saturday.

His body is in the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital morgue at Moto'otua.

He said his three children were possibly infected by measles at the Savalalo market where they have a stall and sell items.

“I thought that my son (Sale) would survive when the other two passed away," he said. 

"But I guess measles was too strong and there was nothing we could do.

"It was probably from when we were going to and from the market when my children got infected by the virus.”

The family’s stall at the market, which is their main source of income, is now closed following their children’s hospitalisation and deaths. 

The parents said their 14-month-old son was fighting for his life when his twin sister and older sibling passed away. Their son died at home last Saturday while the family was looking for assistance from a traditional healer. 

When this newspaper visited the family’s home at Lauli’i on Monday for the interview, Mr. Luamanuvae and his relatives had begun to dig a grave for their third child, who will be buried next to his twin sister and older brother.

The Tuivale family is the first in the country to lose three children to the deadly virus since the epidemic was declared by the Ministry of Health on October 16, and the Samoa government’s declaration of a state of emergency last Friday. 

Statistics released by the government state that there are 716 suspected cases, 48 confirmed cases and 7 deaths including the 14-month-old baby from Lauli’i.

Attempts are being made to get a comment from the Ministry of Health.

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