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The Ministry of Health in Samoa have released a statement to clarify that they had not authorized the $40.00 tala vaccination record fee and were also not aware that staff had unilaterally imposed the fee to acquire the vaccination records for school enrolment.

As a result, Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri had instructed staff members to cease any fees immediately when informed of the situation last Friday.

He says that these fees in question are old charges implemented during the former National Health Service when parents’ requested replacement of their immunization books and records when they'd been lost or misplaced. 

This is the record they usually take with them when they emigrate overseas to NZ, Australia or the USA. 

The staff members involved did not take into account that the old law governing the NHS operations as a State-Owned Enterprise had already been voided.

Worse, they did not ask the authorities before continuing with the old practice.…more

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Lineup announced for 'I Love Samoa' benefit concerts in NZ

via Radio New Zealand Pacific 

The first lineup announcements have been made for a series of concerts in New Zealand, which aim to raise funds for the families of measles victims in Samoa.

The 'I Love Samoa 2020' concerts will take place in Auckland, Wellington and Australia's Gold Coast from the end of the month.

The concerts will include Ardijah, Annie Crummer, Sammy Johnson, Lole and traditional powerhouses Punialava'a.  Hip hop stars Savage and Swiss will also perform as well as other Pasifika stars.

Organiser Danny 'Brotha D' Leaosavai'i told Radio 531PI the response from the musicians had been heart-warming.

"They're all donating their time and their talents for this.  The monetary value of each of these artists is far beyond what probably we could have paid for...I'm speechless. I want to thank them personally and sincerely."

Brotha D said the lineups might differ at each venue but more details could be found on the event Facebook pages.

He said the aim was to get as much financial assistance to Samoan families as possible.…more

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The Ministry of Health confirms a cumulative total of 5,697 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team, since the outbreak started.

 Currently the outbreak is declining with 30 new cases reported between December 29, 2019 and January 5, 2020.

 As of 8.30am January 5th 2020, there were 16 measles currently admitted at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital (TTMH) including 4 critically ill children in ICU/HDU.

The total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals recorded for the outbreak to date is 1,860. Of that, 1,761 (95%) patients have recovered and been discharged.

 To date, 83 measles related deaths have been recorded. There were 2 fatalities (one infant and one adult) between December 29, 2019 and January 5, 2020.

 There are currently no travel restrictions or vaccination requirement for those travelling to Samoa. Additionally, proof of MMR vaccination is not currently required for Samoans travelling to Australia, New Zealand, or the United States.

Only travelers to American Samoa are required to provide proof of vaccination for MMR.

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'WAKE UP CALL TO THE WORLD' says Israeli Professor

Samoa’s measles crisis is a “wake up call for the world,” because it has set a precedent for all countries to follow the example set by the Samoa Government, says the Director of the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, Professor Elhanan Bar-On.

Professor Bar-on with close to three decades experience in Humanitarian and Emergency Response is urging all Samoan residents to support the Government’s Mass Vaccination Campaign. “Your Government’s decision for compulsory vaccination is an example for the World to follow,” he complimented. “It is the right decision.”  

He says that the epidemic is a lesson to the world on the impact of the anti-vaccination movement. “Anti-vaccination movements exists in every country and they have no shame in the consequences of their campaign,” he said.more

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Two more Samoan children die of measles overnight

Another two children under the age of 5 have passed away in Samoa in the last 24 hours bringing the total of measles related deaths to 75.

The Ministry of Health confirms a total of 5,331 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team, since the outbreak started.  There were 64 recorded in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 129 measles cases who are in-patients at all health facilities.  Of this, 104 are at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital (TTMH), 2 at Poutasi District Hospital, 2 at Lalomanu District Hospital, 13 at the Leulumoega Rural District Hospital, 1 at the Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital (MTIIH) 4 at Foailalo DH 1 in Sataua and 2 at Safotu District Hospital.  Admissions include 16 critically ill children in ICU/HDU.

The total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals recorded for the outbreak to date is 1,704.  Of that, 1,500 (88%) patients have been discharged and the Samoan Govn says that approximately 93% of all eligible people in Samoa have been vaccinated against measles.…more

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New team of British medics to tackle measles outbreak in Samoa

The United Kingdom Government confirmed last week that a second UK aid-funded Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT) of 14 British medics has been deployed to Samoa to tackle the deadly measles outbreak and arrived in Samoan on Sunday.

The first team flew out from the UK on 29th November and has been working for two weeks in Samoa to help people suffering from the virus. The second team have replaced this team and will be working 12 hour shifts over Christmas to treat critically ill children in Samoa’s national hospital in Apia.

International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said "I want to thank those British medics in the South Pacific for their dedication, especially at this time of year, for working so hard to tackle this deadly outbreak and treat those who are infected.more

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American Samoans granted US birthright citizenship for the first time, in a landmark ruling in Utah

Judge Clark Waddoups has ruled in favour of three American Samoan plaintiffs, that they should be included in the US Constitution's grant of birthright citizenship stating that American Samoans are US citizens and should be issued new passports reflecting that.

Although American Samoa is a US territory, American Samoans have to date been deemed non-citizen nationals.

The ruling occurred in a district court in Utah, where a group of American Samoans living in the state had filed a lawsuit.

They argued that they should be considered US citizens under the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the US.

The Constitution's grant of birthright citizenship applied to anyone born in a US state or territory.

"This court is not imposing 'citizenship by judicial fiat.' The action is required by the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment as construed and applied by Supreme Court precedent," wrote Judge Clark Waddoups in the US District Court for the District of Utah.

"Further, Plaintiffs are American Samoans.…more

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MENA - Salamasina Summer Collection 2017

When you thought it couldn’t get any better, it just did. Renowned for their strikingly bold and beautiful pasifika prints, MENA have officially launched their summer collection for 2017.

After first being established in Samoa, 2002; now many moons later, MENA has found it’s way to the central suburb of Grey Lynn, Auckland. A family business run by four sisters (Agnes, Jackie, Gina, Charlene) and their mother (Mena Loheni), it was important for them to showcase more of their cultural pride through another unique collection.

The ‘Salamasina collection’ was named in honour of Queen Salamasina; a significant Samoan leader who held four chiefly titles that earned her the paramount status of Tafa’ifa.

Jackie Loheni expressed the meaning behind why it was important for her and her sisters to name this collection.

“We wanted to pay tribute to Salamasina but it was also a reflection on our customers too. Strong, working women.”

As well as beauty found within the clothing of this collection, MENA collaborated with Shahana Jewellery, a renowned pearl jeweler, who intergrated gorgeous pieces to match the attire.…more

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TANOA - Samoa Clothing Store Open in Onehunga

Samoa’s very own Tanoa clothing store has made it’s way to the shores of Aotearoa. Co-owners, Aaron Forsgren and Taupa'u Bruce Leiataua opened their Onehunga branch in October and we were privileged to be apart of it.

Aaron Forsgren expressed his excitement about their new store.

“When we first started this company, our original focus was to utilise local Samoan and Polynesian artists to help develop this. We’ve done that and now it’s always going to be our vision - that we will promote the Polynesian Heritage in a big city.”

All Blacks legend, La'auli Sir Michael Jones, had a few great things to say about his brother-in-law’s brand too.

“I’m really proud of my brother Bruce and the team. I’m proud of everyone involved. I feel blessed to be apart of it in the small way that I’ve been able to contribute - along with the support from the rest of our family.…more

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New connections in the Pacific

Families in Niue and the Cook Islands will have much to celebrate soon as the new cable network will finally make a dent in the huge overseas roaming charges and local data. 

One of the highlight outcomes of the PLF2017 was to get the Manatua Cable (an inter island submarine cable) contract for the construction and maintenance agreed to by the consortium, which will be put out to tender this month.  A successful bid is to be announced within the next few months. 

Honourable Mark Brown, Minister of Finance & Economic Management in the Cook Islands says the Manatua Cable is a cable project with four countries; Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Niue and connects the four islands together with fiber optic submarine cable.  It will transform the connectivity particularly for the Cook Islands & Niue who have previously had to rely on satellite.

"The cable is a good example of how countries working together are able to get a better product at a cheaper price by sharing the cost of the cable across the four countries.…more