42 confirmed measles deaths in Samoa

By D'Angelo Martin

In the wake of the 42 measles deaths in Samoa, former Māori Television Journalist Renee Kahukura-Iosefa, and her whānau, have made the tough decision for her three children to remain here in New Zealand, for their own safety until the measles outbreak in Samoa passes.

“When people were informed here in NZ about the outbreak, father rung me and told me to bring his grandchildren back here so they don't get infected,” Kahukura-Iosefa says.

42 people have lost their lives due to the outbreak, and it was then when the Kahukura-Iosefa family made the decision to come home. The kids have already been immunised but are taking extra precautions.

“Even if you're immunised with the measles vaccine, there's still a chance that you'll catch the infection so we made the decision that my kids will stay here in Huntly with their grandmother for two weeks and then go down to Gisborne to stay with their grandfather.”

The New Zealand Government made the announcement this morning to send more medical staff and supplies to help aid Samoa, Kahukura-Iosefa says that the outbreak is more prevalent in the cities.

At this stage, almost 3000 people have been affected by the outbreak over in Samoa with 300 people catching the virus daily. The Samoan Government declared a state of emergency and called upon NZ and Australia for support.

Kahukura-Iosefa concludes, “On my husband's side of the family, they lost a young one to the virus, which has had an emotional impact on our family. This is the first time we will be apart from our kids, but we need to go back to Samoa because there's still a lot of work to be done.”

On Monday, Renee and her husband will fly back to Samoa to be with his side of the family. They plan to return to NZ on Christmas day to spend time with their three children.