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Nurse finds strength amid sorrow

Many healthcare workers continue to witness the sorrow of grieving families as the death toll of babies dying from measles continues to climb on a daily basis. 

The feeling is one shared by healthcare workers stationed across all clinics being setup to combat the outbreak and accommodate the rising epidemic. 

The doctors and registered nurses in the south east coast of Upolu at the Poutasi Falealili district hospital are no exception.

Senior registered nurse, Fenumia’i Kiripati, who has more than 20 years' experience, said the past two months since the measles outbreak was declared, has been the most challenging period of her career. 

While she is not authorised to discuss matters relating to measles patients in detail, Mrs. Kiripati can only briefly talk about her own experience in the past few weeks. 

“It has been tiring but we find strength in the sorrows of the families affected,” she said. 

“What I mean is knowing that people are suffering gives us the strength and drive to continue our work to help our people regardless of how tired we feel.”

Mrs. Kiripati said one has to find strength to carry on when others feel they cannot. 

The last two days of the shutdown were unlike any others since the epidemic began, the midwife said. 

“Everything was on a standstill and it was just peaceful,” she said. 

“I felt something different and I knew that God has not forsaken our country. 

“I believe that the fasting of our nation and their prayers has kept many others unharmed.”

From the village of Satalo Falealili, the midwife has also had little time to spend with her three children since the outbreak. 

With the support of her family she knows that they are in good hands and will attend to them when she gets the few hours of rest. 

She credited the support of the many healthcare workers who continue to turn up to work everyday despite their families asking them to stay home. 

“We all need each other and everyone does their own work to support the other,” she said. 

Aside from the patients with measles being isolated in a separate ward, the registered nurse the hospital still has to deal with other patients that come for other injuries and illness. 

“We take morning and night shifts so that we can attend to everyone and their situations," she said.

According to the National Emergency Operation Center update on Friday, there are currently two patients being admitted for measles at the Poutasi hospital. 

When the Samoa Observer arrived the number had doubled with four in patients. 

Mrs. Kiripati confirmed the hospital's most severe cases were those being transferred to the Tupua Tamasese Hospital at Moto’otua. 

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