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Last week the Government of Samoa mandated the United Nations to assist the development of a national appeal in response to the rapidly spreading epidemic.
The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi today launched the Samoa Measles Response and Recovery Appeal on behalf of the people of Samoa to support ongoing efforts in containing the measles outbreak and to effectively treat people who contracted measles, and to achieve herd immunity for long term protection of the population.
A needs assessment conducted collaboratively between the UN and the lead government ministries coordinating the Appeal includes a financial request of about US$10.7 million worth of activities.
As the government’s vaccination and awareness campaign begins to take root, the money will go towards a range of short- and long-term efforts to strengthen the current response and recovery initiatives in the areas of health, community, education, information technology and data. The Appeal also focusses on the most vulnerable and most affected population of children in the age groups of 0 months to 4 years, 5 to 19 years and females in the childbearing age of 20 years to 35.
“For longer than a month, we have been together on the front line of the response to one of the greatest challenges that this country experienced in its recent history. The measles epidemic in Samoa has called on all of us to join efforts and address the outbreak’s immediate impact on vulnerable populations- babies, young children and pregnant women being the most affected,” said Simona Marinescu the UN Resident Coordinator in Samoa.
Prior and since the start of the outbreak, the UN has been supporting the Government through its Ministry of Health in providing technical health support in vaccination and medical supplies.
The UN is also supporting the community response campaign led by the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to better inform the communities about vaccination, hygiene, caring for measles patients and preventing measles infection. Equally important are messages on reproductive health – as well as options for women of reproductive age receiving vaccinations and psychosocial first aid initiatives to help families that are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to measles.
Over WST 500,000 was pooled together from various UN agencies including the WHO, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women and the UN Resident Coordinator Office to support the MWCSD in delivering this campaign.
The UN’s Central Emergency Relief Fund has already agreed to provide US$ 1.5 million to UN agencies in Samoa to use on life-saving activities, such as disease surveillance, refresher training for health workers, social mobilization, buying and administering vaccines and other medicines, procuring urgently needed medical equipment to care for the sick, psychosocial support, and the deployment of EMT teams.
In these challenging times the UN stands in solidarity with the government of Samoa and its people, as the country experiences the worst measles epidemic in its history.
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