Caritas supports Samoa in the face of measles outbreak
29 NOVEMBER 2019
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is reaching out to help our partners in Samoa as they work to fight the ongoing measles epidemic in their country. 2,936 cases of measles have been reported as of November 28 and 39 people have died from the disease.
A state of emergency was declared in Samoa on November 15 and a Mass Vaccination Campaign was activated soon after. Schools have been closed and children under the age of 17 have been banned from public gatherings. Temporary clinics have been set up across the country to provide vaccinations and treat people who are showing symptoms of measles, and almost 45,000 people have now received the measles vaccine.
Several NGOs are on the ground working with the National Emergency Operations Centre in Samoa to address the most urgent health concerns. Caritas Samoa has been collecting supplies such as food, clothing, hand sanitiser, bed sheets, pillows, towels and medical face masks for hospitals, clinics and families. They are also mobilising volunteers to put together family packages of these supplies that patients and their families can pick up from donation stations outside of hospitals and clinics.
Caritas Samoa is also responding to the pastoral needs of their communities as several families face the loss of loved ones, especially their children. George Fa’alogo, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s Humanitarian Coordinator, is in close contact with Caritas Samoa. He says, “We’re at a loss to describe the impact of this outbreak, especially for those families who have lost more than one child. We will continue to provide Caritas Samoa with support so they can continue their outreach work in these communities.”
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, together with Caritas Australia and Catholic Relief Services, are sending a solidarity grant to Caritas Samoa to assist them in their work. The funding will help in the collection and distribution of essential supplies and will also provide transportation for medical professionals and mobile clinics to vaccinate people in rural areas.
You can support Caritas’ relief efforts for emergencies such as this by donating to our Pacific Relief Fund on our website: www.caritas.org.nz/donate.