Pregnant pause: mothers await measles' end

No group is anticipating a measles free Samoa more than the nation’s pregnant mothers, currently doing all they can to evade the virus and keep their babies healthy.

During this epidemic pregnant women have been among the most vulnerable demographics as they cannot be vaccinated during pregnancy. So far, the Government has reported at least one antenatal fatality.

In its state of emergency orders last month the Government also required unvaccinated pregnant women, or those who are unsure of their status, be banned from going to their workplace, either in the private or public sector.

Pregnant women have told the Samoa Observer of the extra measures that they have taken to avoid infections, including leaving town all together in the hope of avoiding the virus' spread in urban areas. 

First time pregnant mother, Fetu Saili, said once the state of emergency was declared, she moved to Lefaga to be with her father to be away from Vaimoso where she usually resides with her husband.

"When the [state of emergency] was in effect, my husband agreed that I moved to my family in Lefaga since [it has] less exposure and [is further] from town to keep safe as this is our first gift from God and we didn't want to risk it," she told the Samoa Observer.

"Considering how busy our work is, my husband couldn't join me because we understand that he could be carrying the disease with him, so it was wise of us to be separated for the time being, even though it is very hard but anything for our precious little joy on the way."

Mrs. Saili, who is the Customer Relations Officer at Skyeye Samoa, says now she just spends her days reading and singing to her child.

"It was very wise of the Government to [extend the state of emergency] because what is more important that being safe and saving a life? I love it and I'm looking forward to the time Samoa is finally declared measles free," she said.

Another expectant mother from Vaiusu, 38-year-old Togipa Faasa'o, told this newspaper that she and her four-year-old daughter, who had  been infected by measles, had to be separated. 

She said the separation has been hard, but shehad to be cautious and focus on ensuring the safe delivery of her child. 

Folasia Lameko, who is a single mother, and was with her mother at the hospital on Monday, said it was her first pregnancy and she was warned of the dangers of measles exposure by doctors. 

"What I do is I exercise in my front yard and go back inside and avoid the flu and do everything told by the doctor so I would deliver a healthy baby in a few months," she said.

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