Measles recovery programme targets families

The Samoa Victim Support Group’s Road to Recovery Programme will now focus on its monitoring and evaluation of their support services on families who lost loved ones during the measles epidemic.

S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang, said their recovery programme came out of their measles outreach programme, which they implemented last year when the measles outbreak was declared.

She said they are supporting 21 families who come from the villages of Leauvaa and Luatunuu, who are healing and finding closure following the death of their loved ones. 

“This is sustainability of Samoa Victim Support Group’s work to the community. It is a service of social and economic assistance to ensure that families are well supported to be able to stand alone,” she said. “It will focus on following up on how families are coping mentally with the situation since we last visited, and how families are supporting or factors that are hindering their recovery through social and economic situations.”

The Group’s education, welfare, youth employment, women’s economic empowerment, awareness and advocacy programmes against violence and sexual abuse can have an impact on families’ situation, according to Siliniu.

“We want to see the infected children who survived the measles to be fully vaccinated; we aim to see them all enrolled in school (for those who were not in school before). We want to see the unemployed nofotane women from these families learning a skill that will enable them to earn a living for themselves.”

“We also aim to get the unemployed youths to join the S.V.S.G. Junior Youth Empowerment Programme for placement to the relevant industries in accordance to their skills and experience.”

Victims of crime will also be catered for under the Group’s Strategic Plan 2019/2020 as they will receive support to be in a safe place and be in a position to change their lives. 

The support of their donor partners was also acknowledged with Siliniu saying donations enabled them to provide support for affected families. 

“Together, we can help our families rise up from the unbearable loss brought about by the measles epidemic, and as a family we will journey together with them through the road of recovery.”

A 53-year-old S.V.S.G. volunteer from Sapapalii, Papalii Ene Isaako, said that when they visited the affected families they were also accompanied by a team of nurses and counsellors who wanted to see how families were coping. 

“Judging from the majority of families, they are moving on but they will always remember the loved ones that passed away due to measles. Some of the families feel important because of the follow up visits they do not feel left out and it creates a feeling of confidence because they now know that there are people who care for them. We also consider assisting them through health advice such as hygiene in taking care of the children.”

The affected families were also given food supplies such as rice, noodles, soap as well as financial assistance from various donors.

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