Samoa activates National Emergency Operation Centre for measles outbreak

The NEOC has been set up as required by the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) under the National Disaster and Emergency Act 2007.

The Government said the NEOC will be responsible for planning, operations, logistics, community welfare and public information management safety and legal section.

Before the Proclamation of Emergency, the Ministry of Health (MOH) activated its Emergency Operation Centre at Motootua on 11 November 2019 to coordinate efforts on mitigating the spread of the Measles Outbreak.

Measles outbreak now a concern for Pacific Rugby

A suspected case of measles in the Tonga Women’s 15’s team has forced the cancellation of the game between Tonga and Australia A in the Oceania Women’s Rugby Championship in Fiji.

Pacific Rugby Players Welfare Director Daniel Leo said they are disappointed about the cancellation.

“While we were extremely disappointed about the cancellation of the planned matches, as were the players themselves who all put in the hard work preparing for the competition, given the circumstances we are confident this is the correct decision, given the seriousness of the situation.”

American Samoa to ban travelers not vaccinated against measles

The airline received a directive from the Office of the Governor in American Samoa that all visitors travelling from Samoa into American Samoa must provide proof of MMR immunisation or Immunity.

The new border control restriction came into effect on 13 November  2019 when the American Samoa Territory declared a Health Emergency signed by the Governor of American Samoa, Lolo M. Moliga.

Samoa’s low measles immunisation coverage main contributor to measles fatalities

Compared to Tonga, Fiji and American Samoa, which are also on the measles epidemic mode, neither of the three countries have reported any measles related or confirmed deaths.

However, the six measles confirmed deaths mostly children under 2 years old so far in Samoa is attracting attention and questions about  the performance of the Health Sector to enforce preventative measures prior to the epidemic.

American Samoa ramps up immunisation efforts amid measles fears

On Thursday, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga declared a public heath emergency meaning all travellers from Tonga and Samoa must show proof of MMR vaccination or immunity.

Although two health community centres at Leone and Amouli have been closed due to a nursing shortage, the Tafuna Community Health Center's hours have been extended and a local baby clinic is also administering shots.

The Department of Health's Aifili Dr John Tufa said immunisation was the best protection and was needed to keep the measles at bay.

Small Pacific states brace for measles spread

As the Pacific grapples with a deadly measles outbreak originating in New Zealand, some of the region's smallest states are seeing their health systems put under increasing strain before the disease even reaches their shores.

Already, measles has spread to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Health authorities in Samoa say they have registered seven deaths suspected to have been caused by the measles virus.

Now, there are fears its spread to other countries in the region could be only a matter of time.

National University of Samoa cancels graduation due to measles epidemic

The university’s Management and Council has also postponed the 2019 TVET Graduation ceremony to April 2020.

According to the university, a couple of students who contracted measles and came to the campus were immediately sent home.

All successful Foundation students will be informed in the next few weeks on how to collect their Foundation Certificates.

In addition, all Foundation students who have already paid their application fee to graduate will be given a full refund.

Successful TVET students will pay their application fee to graduate next year.

Samoa orders all pre-schools to shut after three suspected measles deaths

Samoan officials announced a measles epidemic earlier this month — there have been 15 confirmed cases so far, out of a total of 314 suspected cases.

The majority of cases have involved children younger than four years old.

It is believed the outbreak started in New Zealand before spreading to Samoa. Western Australia and Tonga have also been affected.

The Ministry of Health has advised people to avoid crowds and to isolate sick children at home.

American Samoa on alert over Samoa measles

Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua said because of the contagious nature of the disease and frequent travel in the area, monitoring would continue until the epidemic on neighbouring Samoa is over.

Two-hundred people arrived on the Lady Naomi ferry on Thursday and the majority were sports teams taking part in a local festival.

A group of cricket players from Samoa was screened and the department said it was continuing to monitor the group, with regular checks for symptoms.

Fiji offers free measles vaccines

Fiji's Health Ministry said it was closely monitoring the outbreak, which has already moved to Samoa and Tonga.

The ministry is also rolling out training for health workers and urging the public to ensure children are vaccinated before going overseas, especially to New Zealand, Samoa, or Tonga.

"Outbreaks around the world, including in neighboring countries, puts us at risk of having travel related cases of measles," the ministry said in a statement Friday.