November 29, 2019

ADRA Samoa Responds to Deadly Measles Outbreak

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Samoa staff are working tirelessly in response to the deadly measles outbreak in the country.

According to ABC News, 32 children have died as a result of the outbreak, and most of the victims are under the age of four. The Samoan government declared a state of emergency, with a compulsory mass vaccination campaign launched. The government has also closed all schools and banned children from public gatherings.

ADRA South Pacific director Greg Young said ADRA Samoa, with its extensive experience in emergency responses, has been providing support to the medical teams and the many thousands visiting vaccination centers by providing food at the centers.

“Additionally, through a small network of Adventist medical personnel in Australia, ADRA and Samoa Airways are coordinating the delivery of ten neonatal nurses and eight neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators as surge capacity to the main hospital in Apia,” Young said.

Instead of heading to church on Saturday (Sabbath), ADRA Samoa staff delivered packed lunches to medical staff at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Apia. They have also been asked to extend the meals assistance to the hospitals at Leulumoega and Faleolo, made possible with funding from ADRA Australia and New Zealand, ADRA International, and the New Zealand High Commission.

“We are blessed to serve, especially when we enter the wards and see the suffering,” said ADRA Samoa country director Su’a Julia Wallwork. “The nurses and doctors are doing their very best and putting in long hours. We are only playing a minor role in comparison.”

In light of the closure of local schools, Samoa Adventist College has canceled all end-of-year functions except for the school’s prize-giving ceremony, which has been postponed until January 16, 2020. Teachers will end their school year on Friday, November 29.

Measles outbreaks have also recently been reported in Fiji and Tonga.

“Please keep the people of Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji affected by this outbreak in your prayers,” Young said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Adventist Recordnews site.