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Sheba Helps to Save Lives in Samoa

Since October, approximately 4,700 cases of measles have been diagnosed in Samoa, a tiny nation in the Pacific Islands. By December 10, the death toll in Samoa from this epidemic reached 70 people – 87% of whom were four years old or younger. The Samoan government shut the nation down last week in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly epidemic

The World Health Organization urgently called upon Sheba Medical Center’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response Unit to send a team to help with this crisis. The high number of Samoan patients requiring intensive care treatment has overwhelmed the hospital wards and staff, and other countries have been asked to provide medical assistance.

A team of about 10 Israeli doctors and intensive care nurses from Sheba Medical Center traveled to Samoa and were deployed at Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital. The emergency team is being led by Dr. Itai Pessach, Head of Sheba’s Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, and Assaf Luttinger, RN, Deputy Director of Sheba’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response. Their team also includes a pediatric pulmonologist, who is a specialist that the Samoan hospital does not have.

“Our goal is to help the people of Samoa and represent the State of Israel,” said Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of Sheba.

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