Australia aids Samoa's measles fight

Australia has expressed continued support for Samoa’s battle against the measles epidemic, which has already claimed more than 17 lives.

Nearly a week after the Government declared a state of emergency in a bid to contain the spread of the contagious disease, the Australian government has indicated its willingness to stop the further spread of the disease to other Pacific countries.

“Australia is working closely with the Government of Samoa, the World Health Organisation, the Government of New Zealand and other regional partners to coordinate our response efforts and prevent the further spread of measles which, if not contained, could pose a risk to the region,” a statement issued by the Australian government says.

The statement is co-signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne and the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt.

“In response to a request from Samoa, Australia has provided support since 4 November, including a specialist team of nurses, doctors and public health experts, as well as urgently needed medical equipment and supplies,” the statement said.

“An Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) will work alongside Samoan health personnel to provide urgent care to critically ill patients, support vaccinations and develop public health messages.

“The team has also established a portable eight-bed critical care unit to ensure the most vulnerable patients receive the care they need.

“AUSMAT is one of a few World Health Organization (W.H.O.) globally-verified Type-2 Emergency Medical Teams in the world, providing Australia with world-class capability to help our neighbours in times of need.”

The government of Australia is also advising its citizens travelling to Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

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