Photo Credit: courtesy Sheba Medical Center
Israel Center for Disaster Medicine & Humanitarian Response team (Sheba Medical Center) at Ben-Gurion Airport prior to departure for Samoa

A team of medical experts from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer flew to Samoa on Sunday 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 pregnant women.

The emergency deployment of doctors and nurses from the hospital’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine & Humanitarian Response unit, 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.

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“In this particular mission, we will not need to deploy our field hospital or need to bring measles inoculations to Samoa. Because the Samoan healthcare 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 medical team will be in Samoa for two weeks.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.