Suva, Fiji - The Government of Samoa declared a state of emergency on 15 November due to the escalating measles outbreak.
In response to the state of emergency, the Pacific Sub-Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, has provided reproductive health kits to the Government of Samoa for women of reproductive age, including pregnant women and those with newborns, amid the ongoing measles outbreak.
UNFPA Pacific, with support from the Government of Australia, is working closely with the Samoa Ministry of Health, the Samoa Red Cross, the Samoa Family Health Association and UN sister agencies to provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, psychosocial support, information and referral support.
A humanitarian response specialist from the UNFPA Pacific head office in Fiji, has been dispatched to Samoa to support the UNFPA in-country team to orient Samoan health service providers to the reproductive health kits that will be used to support the increasing demand for maternity and emergency obstetric services.
An obstetrician/gynaecologist from UNFPA Pacific arrived in Samoa yesterday, to work with clinicians to maximise the response for pregnant women to manage the anticipated increase in complications of pregnancy, including premature delivery and low birthweight neonates.
Selected health facilities will be supported through the provision of reproductive health supplies, medical equipment and drugs to enhance their capacity to provide emergency obstetric care for pregnant women and new mothers and their babies.
Family planning counselling, along with access to condoms and other contraceptives will be integrated into the community awareness raising campaign to ensure that newly vaccinated women do not get pregnant during the following four-week period.
Pacific Sub-Regional Office
The kits are part of a One UN response to the outbreak, at the request of the government.
They include medicines, instruments and other commodities meant to support safe delivery, contraceptive use, STI treatment, and management of complications of pregnancy, among other purposes. The kits are pre-packaged and pre-positioned, ready for immediate dispatch to meet urgent requests.
￼will also be prepositioned in Samoa in case there is a need to set up￼alternative maternity facilities.
In Samoa and 13 other countries across the Pacific, UNFPA works with governments, other UN agencies, development partners and humanitarian organisations to ensure that the special needs of women of reproductive age are not left behind during emergencies.