Measles epidemic

Samoa Govt accused of negligence ahead of lethal 2019 measles outbreak

The outbreak killed 83 people in the country, most of them babies and young children.

Two consecutive health reports, one a 2018 health ministry study and the other a Commission of Inquiry report delivered early in 2019, urged the government to conduct a mass vaccination drive to counter the country's low herd immunity amid a growing global measles pandemic.

However, it took the government another seven months to start rolling out a mass vaccination policy resembling the recommendations, but by then the highly contagious respiratory illness had already taken hold.

Call for more support for bereaved families in Samoa in wake of measles crisis

Eighty-three people died during the epidemic - most of them children.

Samoa Crisis Center co-ordinator Taimalelagi Ramona Tugaga said she had helped counsel 85 families over the past two months.

But she said it was not enough as more needed to be done to help bereaved families.

"We feel that everyone is now aware but it's still a long way to go to trusting the health system. You know, there was so much uncertainty.

Samoan doctors say the measles epidemic is 'a warning to New Zealand'

When “PJ” Faumuina grew up in Samoa, vaccination was not even a question.

“There was no discussion. It was, ‘The programme is coming to school today, all line up and get your vaccinations.’”

Families, he said, followed leaders – whether from the family, village, church or district – who made decisions on behalf of their communities. If they decided that children should be vaccinated, it happened.

Lalomanu nurses gather strength to serve after measles epidemic

During the epidemic, the nurses went sent to work in hospitals in Savaii and Upolu.

Alofa Leota of of Magiagi was chosen to work at Lalomanu Hospital about 61 kilometres away from Apia.

Leota told Loop Samoa correspondent, Talaia Mika that she had to leave her only child with her parents and family when she was on duty.

“I know that for a lot of nurses, we’re being separated from our families especially our children but when it comes to our work, the lives of the people depend on us so we must do our job no matter what,” she said.

Miss South Pacific, Miss Samoa returns home to help with measles recovery

Ms Seumanu was welcomed with an Ava ceremony held at Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) Tuesday.

She spoke of “promoting vaccination using my position as the Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa.”

She plans to promote the health message as much as she can so not only the people of Samoa but the people of the Pacific will value it.

Ms. Seumanu is a registered nurse in New Zealand and during the measles crisis in Samoa, she assisted at the Ministry of Health and around the country and with the Mass Vaccination last year.

'Lessons to be learnt' from Samoa measles epidemic - Aupito William Sio

Counties Manukau and Samoa Doctors Worldwide are working on rotational cycles up to April as part of the regionwide response from Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Pacific.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio who has just returned from Samoa says: "There are lessons to be learnt from this particularly for the wider region and both Winston Peters and I have been looking at how do we co-ordinate our response better."

MP calls for inquiry into Samoa's measles epidemic

Olo first made the call in December through local media, apologising on behalf of Parliament and telling the people of Samoa that the government had failed miserably.

This week he told Parliament the government did not have an epidemic plan in place before the outbreak in October.

Olo also mentioned the current coronavirus spreading in China and advised the ministry of health to take it seriously lest the country face another health crisis.

Samoa vendor back selling on the streets after measles crisis

The 28-year-old father saw a huge decline in his earnings as people stayed away from public gatherings and from town.

Mr. Tusani who has been selling his wares on the streets for the past 10 years said he used to make about $100 tala a week.

However, during the measles crisis, things changed.

“I’ve witnessed that the town was unusually lacking people and not only were they not around much, I think they’re also kind of scared to speak with me or any of the vendors because of the measles,”Mr Tusani said.

Samoa measles epidemic takes toll on mental health

Since the outbreak was declared in October, 83 people have died, most of them children.

The Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations, or SUNGO, recently travelled to the island of Savai'i, providing food, supplies and counselling.

The group's chief executive, Fuimaono Vaitolo Ofoia, said the Christmas period was a struggle for many families in Samoa.

"It's a weird experience for them because of this traumatic disease and the circumstances they have gone through, the trauma, it's beyond any other."

Fuimaono said long-term support would be crucial.

Group provides measles relief for Samoa's 'forgotten' Savai'i

To date, 83 people have died in the epidemic, which at its peak in November was claiming the lives of about five or six people a day but has since waned.

The chief executive of the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations, Fuimaono Vaitolo Ofoia, said the vast majority of the victims were on the main island of Upolu.

Fuimaono said Savai'i, which had about 300 cases, had become somewhat forgotten.

"We were under the impression that Savai'i hasn't got any aid from any donor overseas.