New Zealand to send more medical staff and essential supplies to Samoa


Despite mass immunisation, the Samoan Government confirmed infection rates had climbed more than 200 cases every day for the past four days.

The outbreak has been exacerbated by low immunisation rates in the island nation, which officials say stems partly from a case a year ago when two babies died after receiving measles vaccination shots.

The Samoan island which is a domicile for approximately 2,00,000 people located in the south of equator and halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand has recently declared the outbreak of Measles epidemic which wiped off 32 lives as per the details published by the Health Authorities of Samoa.

To date, 42 measles related deaths have been recorded, with three fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Samoa's top health official predicted on Wednesday the worst was still to come.

Auckland doctor Scott Wilson, who has been leading a medical team in Samoa for the last 10 days, told the Herald children were collapsing as soon as they walked through the hospital doors and required immediate resuscitation. According to the Samoan government, this effort has successfully vaccinated 33,085 individuals in Samoa.

Yet the Pacific nation's director of health Take Naseri said a compulsory vaccination programme was not reaching children aged six months to four years, even though they are a priority group.

"This is a very hard time for Samoa, and our sympathies are with everyone affected", Mr Peters said.

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But it unquestionably is the Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation also scuffling with Ebola, that has seen the supreme measles outbreak. Once infected, there is no specific treatment for measles, so vaccination is a life-saving tool for children.

This will include a third rotation of New Zealand's emergency medical assistance team (NZMAT), further nurse vaccinators, intensive care (ICU) specialists and Samoan-speaking medical professionals.

The first case was diagnosed more than seven weeks ago and Page said overstretched health workers were feeling the strain.

More countries have sent medical personnel and supplies to Samoa to fight a measles outbreak that led the Pacific Island to declare a state of emergency this month.

Samoa is in the grip of a Measles epidemic and UNICEF New Zealand is providing ways for Kiwis to make a difference and support affected children and families.

- New Zealand's measles epidemic begins.

The ministry has vaccinated 24,000 people in both Upolu and Savaii since November 20.