Samoa measles outbreak claims 70 lives, majority are children under five

© UNICEF/Sa’o Mulivai The Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Motootua, provides the people of Samoa with numerous health services and facilities.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Seventy people have now died from Samoa’s measles outbreak, UN humanitarians confirmed on Tuesday, as the organization released emergency funding to help the authorities step up efforts to eradicate the preventable disease.

The development – announced by UN emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock – means that $2.6 million will be made available for the small Pacific island, where health providers have been reportedly overwhelmed.

87 new cases in past 24 hours

“As of this morning, 4,819 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team since the outbreak started, according to the Ministry of Health in Samoa”, Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said. “There were 87 cases recorded over the past 24 hours.”

The OCHA official added that the funds would be used to provide emergency vaccinations, obstetric and neonatal care for mothers and newborns infected with measles.

Funding to overcome outbreak trauma

In addition, the funding will help to deliver mental health and psychosocial support and provide clean water and sanitation, along with public health information.

To date, a reported 120 medical teams from the World Health Organization (WHO) have also deployed throughout the country to assist with the vaccination drive.

The UN has also backed another national campaign, with workers going door-to-door to promote awareness about the importance of getting inoculations.

Such moves are seen as vital to rebuilding community confidence and trust following the deaths last year of two babies during routine vaccination, amid strong anti-vaccination sentiment.

“Obviously this is a tragedy that you can have 61 child(ren) and nine other people being basically killed by a virus that is completely preventable,” said Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesperson.

After the outbreak was officially declared in October, Samoan authorities announced a state of emergency in November, in response to the growing number of infections.

90 per cent of vaccination target reached

“So far, about 90 per cent of the 143,000 people it targeted have been reached, Mr. Laerke said, noting that the island nation was not alone in suffering a measles outbreak,  linked to low immunisation coverage.

“By the end of November 2019, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and American Samoa have all reported measles outbreaks,” he said. “Prior to the ongoing outbreaks, measles vaccine coverage varied in Pacific island countries and areas, ranging from 31 per cent in Samoa to 99 per cent in the Cook Islands and Nauru.”

Mr. Jasarevic added that measles outbreaks had also been reported in Australia, Cambodia, China, including Hong Kong and Macao, Japan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam.

To contain the public health threat, the Government of Samoa has launched a national appeal for nearly $11 million, as it works to vaccinate its population and treat those who have already been affected.

Its youngest citizens are most at risk, OCHA said in a statement, along with pregnant women and new mothers.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

Violence in North and West Africa increasingly targeting civilian and border areas – OECD/SWAC

How COVID-19 can be the Great Reset toward global sustainability

These are the world’s least – and most – corrupt countries

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

Mosquitoes kill more people every day than sharks do in a century

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

Which countries get the most sleep – and how much do we really need?

EU mobilises immediate support for its Western Balkan partners to tackle coronavirus

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

MEPs hail minimum global corporate tax rate deal as historic

EU-US ties to break over Iran; Democrats’ electoral win may not change it

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Green Deal: How MEPs wish to channel EU investment to sustainable activities

New UN poverty report reveals ‘vast inequalities’ between countries

5 things weighing on the world economy, according to the IMF

Boosting the EU’s capacity to anticipate and respond to health crises

UN Member States overwhelmingly support end of US embargo against Cuba

World Malaria Day: 7 things to know about the deadly disease

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

Bayer-Monsanto merger: the story of the rise of the “endless company”

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

Why good cybersecurity in business is everyone’s responsibility

Armed groups kill Ebola health workers in eastern DR Congo

This root vegetable could help alleviate hunger and end soil erosion. Here’s how

To build cities fit for the future, we need to think differently

Data will allow us to predict the future if we let it. Here’s how

Improving coverage of mental health services

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

Rebuilding after COVID: The challenge is digital

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

They won this year’s Nobel for economics. Here’s why their work matters

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

UN rights chief urges ‘immediate dialogue’ to end Chile unrest

COP21 Breaking News: Conference of Youth Focuses on Hard Skills to Drive Greater Climate Action

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Sustainable fishing staying afloat in developed world, sinking in poorer regions

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Around 260,000 children in DR Congo’s Kasai region suffering severe acute malnutrition

Palliative Care: A Gap to fill in healthcare service

A very good morning in European markets

Billions for sustainable investments – Germany’s plan for a green recovery

Draghi’s ‘quasi’ announcement of a new era of more and cheaper money

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

EU summit compromise: positive step for recovery, inadequate in the long-term

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Here are four steps SMEs can take for long-term success

Trees in ‘green’ Cameroon refugee camp, bring shade and relief from ‘helter-skelter’ of life

Can we create an empathic alternative to the capitalist system?

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

The role of the cyber leader in building secure and resilient digital ecosystems

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Taxation: Commission refers Poland to Court for failing to remove certain tax exemptions on the use of energy products by highly polluting businesses

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s