Winston Peters to visit Samoa as nation continues to struggle with measles epidemic

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa tomorrow, as the Pacific nation continues to grapple with a deadly measles epidemic.

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Correspondent Barbara Dreaver found children in need of urgent medical care. Source: 1 NEWS

As of yesterday, the death toll in Samoa's measles crisis stood at 71 - the vast majority of which have been children.

“New Zealand has been working closely with the government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the early stages of the outbreak.

"New Zealand has deep sympathy for the situation in Samoa and we are committed to supporting their response to this crisis,” Mr Peters said. 

According to the Government, New Zealand has sent multiple teams of medical professionals to Samoa since November 20 and has funded 100,000 measles and rubella (MR) vaccines provided by UNICEF, and 15,000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines from New Zealand.

Coffins being sent to Samoa from New Zealand ‘sad reminder’ of deadly measles epidemic

Other support includes providing an oxygen production machine, vaccination fridges, face masks, gowns, hand sanitiser and stretcher beds.

“We are continuing to work very closely with Samoa, and other international partners, as this situation develops and needs arise,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Sio added: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragic situation in Samoa,” Aupito William Sio said.

Mr Peters and Mr Sio will meet with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, and visit Leulumoega District Hospital and Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital, where New Zealand and Samoan health teams are working together treating ill patients and supporting the maternity unit.

They will also visit UNICEF's headquarters.

Mr Peters and Mr Sio will be in Samoa for two days.