Christian World Service is appealing for donations to support Samoan families affected by the measles outbreak. Sadly, 71 people mostly under five months old have lost their lives. Nearly 5,000 people have been infected with the virus.
Donations to the appeal will enable trained community carers to provide psychosocial support for families. They will also fund urgent relief items needed by people who are unwell.
CWS has made an initial grant of $5,000 to our colleagues and partners at the Family Centre, based in Lower Hutt and Samoa. Staff have prepared a preliminary budget of $20,000.
One staff member and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist have arrived in Samoa. They have briefed the Ministry of Health and the Mental Health Unit and are assisting with the recovery strategy.
They say many aiga or families need emotional support and assistance with basic items.
Family Centre Samoa staff are purchasing bedding and mattresses, nappies, wipes, towels, soap and Vaseline for affected families as well as formula for mothers unable to provide breast milk because of stress. The need for such practical help will increase as the teams begin visiting affected families.
In the next few weeks, they will train three experienced psychosocial teams in community-based care and make the first contacts. These local teams supported aiga following earlier natural disasters like the 2012 Cyclone Evan. They will focus on rural areas where other teams are not working.
Mothers are doing their best but many have found it hard to feed and raise their children on minimal income. They cannot afford doctors or medical care.
“This is a very traumatic time for families and communities in Samoa. Working with the Family Centre, I know we are giving people the comfort and support they need in a very appropriate and Samoan way. Please support this appeal for relief supplies and transport and other costs for team members to reach more isolated communities,” says Trish Murray, International Programmes Coordinator, Christian World Service.
CWS has supported a number of disaster response programmes run by the Family Centre in previous years. This appeal is for a short term response to the latest outbreak.
Donations can be made:
- On line and by direct deposit to the Samoa Measles Appeal
- By Phone with a credit card: 0800 74 73 72
By Post to: CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140
December 11, 2019