New Zealand provides more support to fight measles

New Zealand has pledged further support to Samoa's ongoing measles epidemic and will send 15 more medical staff and essential supplies.

The Samoa government in an update on Friday put the death toll at 42 with three fatalities in the last 24 hours. A total of 3,149 measles cases have been reported since the start of the outbreak with 213 recorded in the last 24 hours.

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters, advised in a statement released by the New Zealand government that they are sending more assistance to Samoa.

The assistance includes: additional medical supplies and personnel, including a third rotation of New Zealand’s emergency medical assistance team (N.Z.M.A.T.), further nurse vaccinators, intensive care specialists and Samoan-speaking medical professionals who will be deployed Friday.

“The Samoan health system is under serious strain with growing numbers of people, many of whom are very young, needing complex care as a result of the measles outbreak,” Vaovasamanaia said.

“We have been working closely with the Samoan government to ensure we are providing the resources that are needed.

“This latest package of support includes funding a further 100,000 Measles and Rubella vaccines and a machine to support oxygen production to help meet the unprecedented demand for oxygen in Samoan hospitals.”

Vaovasamanaia added that Samoan health workers have been grappling with the outbreak for a number of weeks. 

“New Zealand will deploy up to 15 intensive care unit specialists, as well as additional Samoan-speaking doctors and nurses, to work alongside medical staff from Samoa and other partners and provide relief.

“New Zealand is also looking to provide psychological support for health workers in Samoa, who have been confronted with some distressing cases in very demanding conditions, and communities that have been affected by the health crisis.

“This is a very difficult time for Samoa, and our sympathies are with everyone affected.” 

The intensive care unit specialists and medical supplies announced on Friday are in addition to the nurse vaccinators, N.Z.M.A.T., and medical supplies that New Zealand has already committed to the response. 

Ulu Bismarck Crawley, who is the National Controller of the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) and Chairman of the Disaster Advisory Committee, thanked all local and international donors such as New Zealand and Australia for aiding Samoa during the epidemic.

N.E.O.C. also acknowledged with gratitude the kind contribution of the following donors: Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) Samoa; Caritas Samoa; Rotary Club of Apia; Bluebird Lumber and Hardware; Oceans of Love (Melbourne Australia); ANZ Bank, Apia SAMOA; Parts Right; New Zealand High Commission in Samoa; Samoa Natural Water; Samoa Stationery and Books; Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Samoa Housing Corporation; Samoa Public Service Commission; Tara Crystal Water; Saletoga Sands Resort and Spa Samoa; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Le Alaimoana Hotel Samoa; Ah Liki Wholesale; Farmer Joe Samoa; Oceania Gas Limited; Institute of Professional Engineers of Samoa; Pati Mualia; Mr. & Mrs. Leilua; Taumeasina Island Resort; TV3-Apia Broadcasting Ltd; Bank South Pacific; Samoa Pure Water; Federal Pacific Insurance Group; Samoa Law Society; Betham Brothers Enterprises Ltd; Brown Girl Woke.

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