British medics assisting with Samoa measles crisis

Measles vaccine

A new team of British medics will tackle the ongoing measles outbreak in Samoa over Christmas

ITIJ recently reported on the outbreak, which is claiming the lives of adults and children in Samoa.

We’ve seen some cases of very, very sick children. Children are dying from the complications of measles

The UK Government has since confirmed that a second UK aid-funded Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT) of 14 British medics will be deployed to tackle the outbreak.

The first team flew out to Samoa from the UK on 29 November and is working there for two weeks to help people suffering from the virus.

The second team will replace the first and is expected to arrive on 15 December. They will work 12-hour shifts over Christmas to treat critically ill children in Samoa’s national hospital in Apia.

“I want to thank those British medics in the South Pacific for their dedication, especially at this time of year, for working so hard to tackle this deadly outbreak and treat those who are infected,” said International Development Secretary Alok Sharma. “The next wave of medics will ensure that patients will continue to be seen over the Christmas period, and that the UK will play our part in stopping more families losing loved ones to this deadly disease.”

Becky Platt, paediatric nurse with the UK Emergency Medical Team, currently in Samoa, said: “The medical system here is under the most enormous amount of strain, with the hospital operating far, far beyond its usual capacity. The local staff have been working around the clock for weeks and weeks on end, many of them without proper breaks or any days off. Some of them are absolutely on their knees. We’ve seen some cases of very, very sick children. Children are dying from the complications of measles.”

By all accounts the situation in Samoa is frightening, with children suffering and dying at the hands of measles. With continued support from British medics, hopefully lives can be saved, and the disease combated.