Samoan families weighed down after great loss

By Tema Hemi
The Nauer aiga outside of their home in Samoa - Photo/File

One more measles death has been recorded in Samoa, with the toll now rising to 71 since the measles epidemic outbreak began in September. 

Confirmation from the TTM Hospital in Apia says that of the 169 in-patients currently hospitalised with 83 recorded in the last 24 hours but only five remain in critical care from the measles.

The official number of vaccines that have been received is unknown at this time. Sixteen days after the State of Emergency was put in place by the Samoan Government, families in Samoa can now see light at the end of this dark tunnel.

The worse may be over but for some, the aftermath of such devastation is still hard to overcome. 

Grieving mother Falai Nauer says, "It's only when I go to work she kinda [sic] forgets the loss of her son. But it's still very hard for me to forget her son at a young age.   

Two weeks ago Soane Nauer died of the measles and was only six months old. He was the youngest of the three sisters and an older brother. His father Lupino Nauer says the youngest has a special place in the family according to Samoan tradition.  

Grieving father Lupino Nauer says, "You give everything to the youngest whether a boy or a girl. Whatever they cry for they try and provide for the youngest. Although he knows there are older children but everything good is given to the youngest."

Regret has plagued the mind of this 41yr old mother who vaccinated her older kids but not the youngest.

Falai also says, "All my older kids were vaccinated and were up to date but just my youngest hadn't been vaccinated since the Savai'i incident when those two kids died and they only had one injection for him."

20-year-old Angel Une's partner Joseph Une died in a car crash in November. Because of the measles outbreak, she couldn't take their six-month-old Joseph Junior to his father's farewell.    

Angel Une says, "We couldn't take him to see his dad. For his family service, we couldn't take the baby because we were with the measles outbreak and everyone wanted to see him, but he was at risk so we couldn't take that risk."

A lot of healing is much needed for the Nauer family and they have decided that they will not have any more children.

Falai says in closing, "I have talked to my husband and we agreed that these kids are enough. I only have three daughters and two sons, one son is gone and now one son is left."