Measles donations top $700,000
Health facilities across the nation have received a much-needed boost of more than $705,000 boost thanks to the generosity shown during a fundraising drive for helping Samoa fight the measles epidemic.
The total fundraising of $706,506 was confirmed by the Chairman of the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.), Ulu Bismarck Crawley, who said the end figure was calculated before the extension of the State of Emergency on 16th December.
“We continue to receive continuous assistance mainly clothing for children and toys with Christmas and not so much the finance,” Ulu told the Samoa Observer.
“Most of those that donated for affected families had gone directly to the families.
“The Government is looking at funding to help finance the health sector programme.
“This will help resource the hospital centres, help with equipment, facilities and awareness programmes. It will make good use of the funding.”
Ulu said much of the other assistance intended to be distributed to affected members of the community had been directly distributed by donors themselves.
Others went through the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency Samoa (A.D.R.A.); the Samoa Red Cross and other institutions who assisted with the distribution process.
Asked about whether there would be compensation for families affected by the epidemic, Ulu said the community has directed appropriate assistance to the families.
The first Supplementary Budget for this Financial Year noted the $706,506 donations declared before 11 December were tallied and collated to make the current budget timeline.
Furthermore, any and all donations to be received thereafter will be declared in the Second Supplementary Budget of June 2020.
In November, N.E.O.C. called on all donations intended to help Samoa fight the measles epidemic should flow through the organisation.
At the time, Ulu said the Ministry of Finance would oversee and keep records of all the assistance received.
“It is through this process that we want to stock take and make sure there is good management of assistance whether it is financial or in-kind," he said.
“It is to showcase transparency and accountability on our role and after the emergency we will launch an official report of all support received.”
He added during the 2009 tsunami, people used the name of the Government when fundraising but the funds never showed up.
“When the report was given of all the assistance received, there was no sign of such fundraising reaching the Government which led to the Government being questioned,” he said.
Ulu said N.E.O.C. will work closely with the Ministry of Health to direct resources, money and people where they are needed most.
"The Emergency Operation is attempting to avoid complications, and unnecessary duplication of processes, while “ensuring the maximum time in delivering the resources,” he added.
“We have received positive support from United Nations, Australia, New Zealand. Some of the support we have been given include: food, mattresses, and appliances, and [money].
“It has been quite overwhelming to receive so [much] support from the community, churches, business community, banks.”