Foreign Minister Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic that has claimed 72 lives mostly children under 4 years.
The announcement was made during Vaovasamaia’s visit to Samoa with Minister of Pacific Peoples, Hon Aupito William Sio where they visited Leulumoega District Hospital.
“Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of very complex cases, has been unprecedented for Samoa,” Mr Peters said.
“New Zealand is committed to supporting Samoa through this crisis. Samoa’s health system and workers are facing exhaustion and while there are positive signs we may be beyond the peak of the epidemic, there is still a way to go yet.
“New Zealand medical specialists will travel to Samoa to work alongside Samoan colleagues and international partners, providing support where needed,” Mr Peters said.
The package includes:
- Samoan-speaking medical personnel and trauma support to health workers and impacted communities, through Pasifika Medical Association
- A Samoan-speaking biomedical engineer to support the installation and operation of new medical equipment provided by New Zealand and other donors
- Up to four anaesthetists on rotation to support Samoan surgical teams as they tackle the backlog of surgeries postponed during the epidemic
- Funding for a new oxygen generation plant for the national hospital