Pacific Islands Forum Chair Statement on the Pacific Measles Pandemic

9:30am (Fiji Standard Time) Thursday

12 December 2019

 
Suva, Fiji – The Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Tuvalu Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Kausea Natano, said the thoughts and prayers of the Blue Pacific are with Samoa as the country deals with a severe measles outbreak.
“Each day we are hearing of more deaths from this outbreak, with 71 people now confirmed dead. It is particularly heart wrenching that the majority of those passing, or seriously ill, are children – our precious mokopuna,” said Prime Minister Natano.
There are also other measles outbreaks in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Tonga, American Samoa and Asia.
“All the agencies of the Pacific Islands Forum are monitoring this situation closely, and responding as appropriate. I pass on thanks to WHO, UNICEF, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Community (SPC) and other partners who have sent significant medical aid and support to Samoa as part of the regional response.
“In order to prevent further outbreaks in the region, I want to ask all our Blue Pacific family, to heed the advice of your Governments and health professionals, and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccination is the only way to ensure you, and your children, are safe from measles.
“The Pacific Islands Forum extends its gratitude to the hard-working and dedicated medical professionals who are working so hard to ensure the outbreak is contained, and to care for those who are ill.
“There can be nothing worse for a family than to lose a child, and our Forum family, send care, support and prayers of comfort to Samoa and her people during this sad time,” said Prime Minister Natano.

-ENDS-
Media contact:
Catrina Rowe
catrinar@forumsec.org
M: (+679) 9986455
Communications & Public Affairs
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
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