In the midst of a deadly measles outbreak in Samoa, a Sheba medical team flew to assist with the crisis.
In October 2019, Samoa, a tiny pacific nation of 200,000 inhabitants, suffered a massive measles outbreak. Due to low vaccination rates, the epidemic spread rapidly, and by December there were over 5,000 people infected and more than 70 deaths, most of whom were children.
With the local healthcare system on the verge of collapse, the Samoan government called on the World Health Organization (WHO) for international aid, and it urgently contacted Sheba Medical Center for assistance.
A team from Sheba’s Humanitarian and Disaster Response Center (HDRC) was dispatched within 48 hours. The team included two senior pediatricians, six nurses, and one physiotherapist, all experts in pediatric intensive care – a necessity given the large number of children suffering from severe measles-related complications.
Upon arrival in Samoa, the team immediately integrated into the Apia central hospital, working shoulder to shoulder with the Samoan medical teams as well as other international aid missions. Leveraging unique medical expertise, the HDRC team supported local medical professionals and provided much-needed guidance.
At Sheba, we are driven by the belief that everyone, everywhere, is entitled to high-quality healthcare, and are committed to addressing healthcare inequities at the individual, community, and systemic levels across the globe.