A team of medical experts from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer, is currently en route to Samoa following an urgent request from the World Health Organization (WHO), as the tiny Pacific island nation battles a deadly outbreak of measles, which has killed nearly 70 people, including many children and expectant mothers.
The emergency deployment of doctors and nurses from Sheba’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine & Humanitarian Response, which is led by Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, came after Samoan authorities informed WHO that the sheer number of patients requiring high dependency and intensive care treatment has overwhelmed the capacity of Samoa’s hospital wards and staff.
Sheba’s medical team to Samoa will be led by Dr. Itai Pessach, the head of Sheba’s Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, and Assaf Luttinger, RN, who is the Deputy Director of Sheba’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response unit.
“In this particular mission, we will not need to deploy our field hospital or need to bring measles inoculations to Samoa. Because the Samoan health-care system has been simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases, we have been asked to bring hands and heads to the affected areas,” said Prof. Elhanan Bar-On. “Once our team lands in the capital city of Apia on Monday, they will be deployed to Tupua Tamaese Meaole Hospital where they can be of the most assistance and help save lives.” The Sheba team will be in Samoa for two weeks.