Devastated mother shares message of hope

The mother of a one-year-old baby who died as a result of measles has spoken up about her grief, her family's sense of loss.

Tilomai Ah Siu Alofipo, of Vaitoloa, is also on a mission to encourage other parents to take their children to the hospital as soon as they begin to present symptoms of illness.

"Take your child to the hospital," she said. "Seek medical attention, even if it is costing a lot of money to take them back and forth. Even if you say your family is poor, take them anyway, find a way because money you can get again but your child’s life, you cannot."

Tilomai lost her baby, Hazel Ah Siu Alofipo, two weeks ago despite saying that she had been vaccinated.

Baby Hazel and her other six children had all been vaccinated. 

The mother of seven explained that her four-year-old son was the first one to be infected by the measles virus. 

Although he was put in isolation and quickly recovered, his two younger sisters showed symptoms that they had also contracted the virus soon after.

Effective isolation was an impossibility due to the layout of their home of one open space room shared by a household of eight.

Hazel was only admitted at Motootua for three days, where she received blood transfusion as she was in very critical condition.

"My child passed on 25th November 2019, while in hospital. She passed away after multiple efforts from the doctors and all of us trying to save her life but nothing much could be done," said Mrs. Alofipo.

"And even while we were there, the sight of the many children who were admitted in the hospital with Hazel and their parents next to them was heartbreaking, I often cried.

"They tried so much for her, with IVs as well as a blood transfusion, and at the time, the Intensive Care Unit was already flooded, but we received the same amount of attention from the doctors."

Hazel was the only fatality on that day as reported by the National Emergency Operation Center (N.E.O.C.) on the 26th of November.

She was the 33rd fatality.

As of yesterday, the death toll has risen to 71, with a total of 4,898 measles cases reported.

Hazel was the youngest of Mrs. Alofipo and her husband's children.

She died in the Moto'otua Hospital.

Mrs. Alofipo said she believes that although her child was vaccinated, there was no way her child could fight off the deadly virus as there had been a late presentation.

She pleading with parents going through the same experience not to just sit around. 

'Prevention is better than cure' is now Mrs. Alofipo's motto, advising parents to take their children in for vaccinations, saying it has saved her other children's lives.

Mrs. Alofipo spoke steadily while telling her story shedding only a few tears saying her husband has been her pillar of strength during the past weeks.

"But we also thank God that He has called for Hazel only, and left the rest of our children," she said bravely.

"I am so grateful for my husband who has been my strength during these times, his endurance to still go work to try and provide for us while in mourning; we have really felt the Lord’s warmth upon us."

Mrs. Alofipo also thanked the doctors and nurses who worked around the clock at the hospital while her children were admitted, and continue to do so for Samoa.

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