Australia's emergency measles mission ends

By Soli Wilson 05 January 2020, 3:00PM

The Australian Medical Assistance Teams (A.U.S.M.A.T.) officially ended its humanitarian response to the measles epidemic on Friday after spending eight weeks on island in one of its longest-ever missions. 

The team has been on the ground for eight weeks – marking it one of the longest ever deployments in the history of A.U.S.M.A.T., which is the country's mobile emergency response unit. 

Members of the Australian team had been rotated every two weeks with new members coming in to relieve those who had been on the ground working non-stop.

The A.U.S.M.A.T. team comprises doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire-fighters and logisticians.

The team is designed to provide life-saving medical treatment in response to disasters world-wide.

Speaking to Samoa Observer just before Christmas, the mission's lead, Abigail Trewin, said their deployment in Samoa had been a challenge but it was achieved with support and the tireless efforts of the Samoan medical teams.

After about six weeks in Samoa trying to contain the virus, what began as an urgent response mission changed into a recovery operation. Accordingly the Australians began to take down one of their emergency tents, which had been used as an overflow for hospital wards. 

The compassion that she has seen from everyone during the epidemic, will be her most enduring memory of this deployment, Trewin said.

The Government of Samoa social media page shows that the Ministry of Health hosted an official sending off for the Australian team. 

By Soli Wilson 05 January 2020, 3:00PM
Samoa Observer

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