Amata Provides Details of Federal Response to Support Samoa
Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata advised constituents of more details regarding the growing U.S. and international response effort to provide medical support to Samoa and help prevent the spread of measles. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced $200,000 to provide immediate financial and technical assistance from the United States, by way of the World Health Organization (WHO), which is coordinating the international response teams.
Specifically, this effort will include U.S. and international medical professionals in Samoa, vaccination awareness efforts throughout every district of Samoa, providing support directly to the Government of Samoa’s vaccination campaign, efforts to assist and counsel grieving families who have lost loved ones or are dealing with illness in the family, and providing essential medical and prevention supplies to health professionals as they work in Samoa. These include hand sanitizer, eye protection, masks, gowns, gloves and more.
“I want to thank USAID and Administrator Mark Green for their response in this time of need in Samoa, and for providing this important information to the public,” said Aumua Amata. “Samoa means a great deal to us in American Samoa. We’re heartbroken at the loss of precious children’s lives, and send our prayers daily.”
Additionally, USAID is coordinating with UNICEF, which provides humanitarian assistance globally with a focus on children’s health, to provide the next major step in resources to support Samoa, and other Pacific countries if necessary. These efforts will be detailed soon.
“A special thank you to every health professional who is working in Samoa, or preparing to assist them,” continued Amata. “We appreciate this lifesaving work from CDC, World Health Organization, USAID, UNICEF, and others.”
USAID works with WHO year-round to prepare for rapid response to disease outbreaks, health emergencies and disasters, and reports that there is a regional team in the Pacific.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is an agency of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, is engaged as the lead U.S. agency in the case of an overseas measles outbreak and has assigned personnel to American Samoa.
Samoa declared the measles outbreak on October 16 and has requested international involvement. U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown declared a disaster on November 26, enabling the current flow of U.S. assistance to begin through CDC and USAID, in coordination with organizations such as UNICEF and WHO.