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“Samoa’s measles crisis is a 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.

Speaking from Tel Aviv via Whats-App Professor Bar-On says that the epidemic is a lesson to the world on the impact of the anti-vaccination movement. “Anti-vaccinations movements exists in every country and they have no shame on the consequences of their campaign,” he said.

And for the record, Professor Bar-on with close three decades 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.”

In contact with team leader on the ground in Samoa RN Assaf Luttinger, who is the Deputy Director of the Israel Centre for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, the Professor says that he is impressed with the reports from Samoa with the joint response reaffirming the “spirit of solidarity” between the Samoan health care workers and their international Emergency Management Teams colleagues from around the world who are responding in one spirit and unity to the crisis.

“It sets the precedent to hear some of the world’s best EMT working side by side with one another to complemented their Samoan counterparts to deliver the best emergency treatment response under these circumstances and it speaks volumes of our human spirit regardless of race, religion and nationality and it must be commended and acknowledged,” he added.

“I am more impressed with the Samoan health care workers, from nurses to doctors and all the supporting services who have been dealing with the crisis since day one,” he said.

“They have performed exceptionally well in dealing with the rapid spread and first flow of patients and casualties,” he added. “It’s unfortunate that many of the mortalities are young children and I pray for the crisis to end without any further loss of life.”

The Israeli team are medical experts from the Israel Centre for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response based with the Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer,

The team which includes six nurses and two paediatric specialists are Israel’s answer to Samoa’s plea for help via the World Health Organisation network.

Prof. Bar-On founded the Israel Centre for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Centre in 2017. Teams from the Centre, consisting of experienced doctors, nurses, allied professionals and specialists, has travelled around the globe – to Zambia, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique and beyond – to assist in emergency medical situations. Humanitarian aid has been a part of Sheba Medical Centre’s mission since its founding in 1948.

“It’s part of our DNA to respond whenever our services are needed,” says Professor Bar-On and he is optimistic that response from his country will be the start of a future relationships between the health sectors of the two countries.


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