The situation in Samoa with regards to the Measles outbreak is one of the worst epidemics to hit the country in the last 100 years. You will be aware from the news reporting that there have now been 55 deaths in the country and most of these have been of children under 5. It is a very difficult disease to contain, and in a country where medical assistance is not just around the corner, and living is in a very communal manner, it has swept through the population very quickly.
At Fero Samoa, we have taken all of our staff to be vaccinated. We have had two staff infected with the disease at this stage, but expect that due to our vaccination efforts, we are not going to see many more of our team affected. We also feel extremely fortunate that we have not had any of the immediate families of our teams suffer from measlesrelateddeath, and we are all praying that it stays this way. We are supporting our team and ensuring that all public health messages are communicated during daily meetings.
The government of Samoa is implementing a number of measures to contain and protect the population. The most recent of these is to declare a state of emergency and order that all businesses, public and private, are shut down for Thursday and Friday this week. The plan is to try to keep as much of the population as possible at home,so that mobile vaccination units can visit villages and all of the population can be immunised. This mass MMR Vaccination plan is to be held on the 5th and 6th of December.
Fero Samoa fully supports the efforts of the Government and are assisting in any way we can to help stop the spread of this disease. Our operations are going to be impacted by this closure, however, we have plans for such an occurrence and do not expect to see any disruption of supply to our customers.
Unfortunately, we do expect to see further disruption until the Christmas break, but we have contingency plans in place to ensure that we are able to supply all product to our customers during this time. We will be increasing our capacity in NZ and will be able to fill any gaps with this plant. At this stage, we are not expecting to see any delays on delivery dates but will communicate any issue as soon as we are aware of it.
Good information has been a bit slow to filter through to the population. As of yesterday, we started to receive good information on what actions to take if early symptoms present. We have a very close and supportive team at Fero Samoa and everyone is keeping an eye on each other. We know that when the immediate danger is over the country is going to go through a period of grief and of asking what has happened. At this stage, we will also need to support our families in Samoa. Tragedies such as this highlight the need for us all to be ensuring that we are vaccinating our children. We wish all the success to the Government in their plans to protect the population and all our support to the people of Samoa in this difficult time.