American Samoa lends hand to measles-stricken Samoa

The American Samoa Government has called for a “territorial fundraising drive” to help Samoa fight the measles crisis.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga told the Samoa Observer that while the two Samoa are separated over the Pacific Ocean: “We are one”. The drive comes measles claimed the lives of 60 Samoans.

The Governor said he has already reached out to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

“I reached out to the Prime Minister yesterday and gave comforting words to soothe his spirit as the country faces the deadly virus," Governor Lolo said.

"In this time of need; we must lend assistance to Samoa as we are one. American Samoa is on standby to offer any assistance to Samoa during this difficult time.

“We cannot sit idle while our brothers in Samoa are facing hardships. We must assist as we are one."

To date the Nafanua has made three trips to the U.S. Territory for 288 oxygen tanks to assist the Ministry of Health with their oxygen supply. 

According to talaneinews, the territorial fundraising drive was first announced during a Cabinet meeting earlier in the week. 

“The Suiga ula o le Atuvasa will be set up as the collection center for the public to drop off clothing, food, money and whatever they will donate for the cause.” 

The fundraise for Samoa will begin on Wednesday (Samoa Time) and it is for 18 days and will be headed Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga Tasi Asuega and Treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipea.

Its member consists of Directors, Taimalelagi Dr Claire Tuia Poumele, Cathy Saelua, Eseneiaso Liu, Faleosina Voigt, Dr. Oreta Crichton, Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga, Ruth Matagi Faatili, Malemo Tausaga, Muavaefa’atasi John Suisala, Tuimavave Tauapai Laupola and Pau Roy Ausage.

Lolo said the fundraising committee will seek contributions from churches and the public. 

“The governor has also set the threshold amount for contributions from government employees and directors.

“All ASG employees are to contribute $10 USD ($26 tala) deputy directors -$100 USD ($260) and  directors and C.E.O.’s $300 USD ($780 tala)." 

The total of Government employees including semi autonomous agencies are 6,804. 

According to talanei, Governor Lolo said that Samoa and American Samoa are one people and the territory cannot just watch while another part of its body is suffering.

He recalled that after Hurricane Tusi, Samoa was the first to respond sending a boat load of produce to Manu’a.

He said while the territory is under the United States, it cannot ignore its cultural and ancestral ties to Samoa.

“It is times of suffering such as this that one comes to know its real brothers and sisters,” he said.

The governor said he has asked the Director of Health and CEO of LBJ Hospital to collaborate with doctors to conduct a clinical analysis of the measles epidemic in Samoa.

The results of such an analysis would determine the next level of the territory’s measles surveillance.

From his observations of the screening of arriving and departing passengers at the airport yesterday, Lolo said it’s was necessary to review entry permit policies for children travelers.

The governor commended the efforts of Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua and his staff in responding to the measles epidemic in Samoa and protecting our borders.

However he believes some improvements were needed.


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