Fijian midwife reflects on supporting Samoa during measles epidemic

With the International Midwives Day and International Nurses Day celebrated this week, Kelera Rabuka says she is proud of the group's achievements.

Ms Rabuka said in a day, they would help with around 12 deliveries per shift at Samoa's national and

district hospitals.

"For me being at home for almost a year without a job and to go back and give back to the community that was rewarding," she said.

Kelera Rabuka said that for her and others in the group the 10-week experience has left a lasting impression on them.


American Samoa won't host Polynesian Leaders Group

American Samoa was to host the inter-governmental meeting involving eight Polynesian members in April.

Originally the territory was to host the event in July 2019 but Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga asked Tuvalu, which hosted the Pacific Forum meeting, to host the PLG alongside the forum.

Lolo had said the territory would step up and host the meeting in January 2020 instead.

However, because of the Samoan measles epidemic, the governor then postponed the meeting until April.

No measles cases left in Samoa hospitals

Since the outbreak began late last year, a cumulative total of 5,707 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team.

Currently the outbreak is declining with 2 new cases reported between 13 January and 20 January, 2020.

“There are currently no measles cases in all hospitals or admitted in any hospital nationally,” a statement said.

To date, the total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals to date is 1,868 since the outbreak was declared and 83 measles-related deaths have been recorded.

Effective outbreak response reduces the risk of measles spread in the Pacific

For Samoa, the country experienced a widescale measles outbreak which had significant impact upon the country’s population and health system.

The disease has cost lives, with infants and young children being most affected.

In response to the identification of measles in the region, many Pacific countries and areas have made serious efforts to close immunity gaps in their population and strengthen infectious disease prevention, surveillance and response systems.

Another measles case confirmed in American Samoa

The government said the latest case was a 28-year-old man from Fagaitua village, who has not left American Samoa in the past three months.

A woman, 27, is also thought to have measles, with samples sent to Hawaii for testing.

The territory is under an emergency declaration, with travel restrictions imposed on the territory's border, public gatherings restricted, and a mass vaccination campaign underway.

Earlier this week, the US announced it would provide $US490,000 of funding to help support the territory's efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

Sales pick up for Savalolo Market’s renowned pork bun (kekepuaa) vendors

Customers both regulars and new have been flocking to the stalls to tuck into the delicious pork buns since the ban was removed a fortnight ago.

Valerie Lavea is one of many small business operators who rely on the sale of food like pork buns and pancakes to meet the needs of her family.

“I’m of course sad that the measles has taken lives of the innocent kids and I give my condolences but as a business person here at the pork-bun place, I’m just glad to see these many customers coming in,” Lavea told Loop Samoa correspondent Talaia Mika.

Fiji lifts measles emergency measure banning mass gatherings

The government said the removal of the ban comes after serious consideration by the National Measles Taskforce.

Since the outbreak, which has seen 28 confirmed measles cases, was declared in November, around 459,000 people have been immunised across the country.

The government said while new cases continue to be reported in the Central Division, the number of new cases per week has decreased.

However it said despite the advisory against gatherings being lifted members of the public are still being urged to take precautions and to make sure they get vaccinated.

2020 Polynesian Leaders meeting postponed

The group, which was established in 2011, consists of independent or self-governing countries or territories within the geographical region of Polynesia.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said because of measles outbreaks in the Pacific, it was prudent to postpone the meeting that was to be held 28-29 January.

In a letter, Lolo said there was "great sensitivity" around the health crisis that might continue into 2020.

The summit is now scheduled for 14-16 April.

Baby in Niue hospitalised with suspected case of measles

The baby is one of 15 in the New Zealand territory who has not yet been vaccinated due to being aged under 12 months.

The child was admitted to Niue Fo'ou Hospital on Tuesday.

Parents with babies aged under one year and unimmunised pregnant mothers have been advised to avoid the hospital.

The Niue Health Department said, as of 13 December all children aged one to two years had been vaccinated while two to four year olds were at 96 percent.

Primary school aged children are at 85 percent and high school students are at 92 percent.

Samoa's measles death toll now 77

The child is believed to be under the age of five.

The age group makes up almost all of the dead - 121 people remain in hospital, including 17 critically ill children.

There were another 53 measles cases recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total since October to more than 5,400.

Samoa has vaccinated 94 percent of its population against measles following a mass campaign.