NZ sends more doctors, nurses and funding for 100k vaccines to Samoa as death toll rises

Up to 15 specialists, medical supplies and additional Samoan-speaking doctors and nurses will be sent from New Zealand as the measles outbreak continues to rip through Samoa. 

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Samoans in New Zealand are rallying in support of loved ones back home. Source: 1 NEWS

To date, 42 measles related deaths have been recorded, with three fatalities in the last 24 hours.

The Ministry of Health has today confirmed a total of 3,149 measles cases reported since the outbreak started, with 213 of those recorded in the last 24 hours. There are currently 197 measles cases who are in-patients at all health facilities.

Earlier this month, the Government stepped up its response as the death toll in Samoa reached 39 - the vast majority of which have been children. 

Today, further nurse vaccinators, intensive care specialists and Samoan-speaking medical professionals will be deployed, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced. 

Six more children under four years old have died in Samoa since yesterday as measles crisis rages on

"The Samoan health system is under serious strain with growing numbers of people, many of whom are very young, needing complex care as a result of the measles outbreak," Mr Peters said. 

"This latest package of support includes funding a further 100,000 measles and rubella vaccines and a machine to support oxygen production to help meet the unprecedented demand for oxygen in Samoan hospitals."

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Helen Petousis-Harris joined TVNZ1’s Breakfast to discuss the epidemic in Samoa, where 39 people have died – mostly children. Source: Breakfast

Mr Peters said the Government is looking at providing psychological support for Samoan health workers "who have been confronted with some distressing cases in very demanding conditions". 

Thirty vaccination nurses were previously sent by New Zealand, with Mr Peters telling media on November 18 he was waiting to hear what further assistance Samoa needed.