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Family loses 10-month old baby

A family in Tanugamanono has lost their 10-month old child in what is another suspected measles death.

Baby Lemina Zipporah Steven Bourne died in her mother’s arms on Sunday, while admitted at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital, Motootua and was buried by the grieving family the next day.

Distraught mother, Natasha Faalenuu Lameko, told the Samoa Observer that their daughter was initially taken to the hospital for treatment on Monday, November 11 when the infant started coughing.

Prescribed medication did not improve her condition, which then deteriorated further and compelled another visit to a doctor three days later. 

She was advised that her baby did not show symptoms of measles, but not satisfied with the outcome from the hospital, she returned the next day to get confirmation that her baby was cleared.

"And on that day (Friday), they would have said it straight to me that it was measles but instead they said it as a severe pneumonia," Mrs Lameko said.

That same day, the infant was admitted in hospital for a night, before members of the Australian medical team assisted and she was taken to a special room for treatment – as she was in a risky condition.

On Sunday morning, on her way back from home, doctors informed her that her baby did not respond to the treatment as she moved a lot when hospital staff tried to put her on intravenous fluid.

"I was told to hold her one last time since this might be the only time I'll ever see her breathing and moving like that,” she said.

The mother and her baby were later moved to the hospital’s ICU where they spent the whole week with last hopes of recovery.

Believing in the power of prayer, Mrs Lameko said she sought the support of her former teacher and head of nonprofit Teen Challenge, Eric Poe.

"I told him I need nothing else but prayers for my dear baby,” she said.

Baby Lemina did not throw in the towel and on Saturday morning, doctors were surprised at the return of her heartbeat, promising a gradual recovery. 

But the joy was short lived as the infant’s heartbeat stopped 10.00am on Sunday, leading to doctors applying emergency treatment but were unable to save her life. 

Fighting back tears, Mrs Lameko said her daughter – who was a breath of fresh air for the families in Tanugamanono – is in God’s loving hands. 

Her mother’s uncle asked that Lemina be buried in front of the yard where he could see her rest. 

She is the youngest of her five siblings with the family still trying to come to terms with her loss.

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