A Geelong gastroenterologist has rallied Epworth HealthCare medical supply distributors to donate medical support equipment including gloves, gowns and masks for staff containing the measles epidemic in Samoa.

Samoa is in desperate need of medical supplies as it deals with a measles outbreak that has killed over 65 children with the UN health agency warning that a steep decline in vaccination rates has paved the way for a huge outbreak of more than 4,500 cases in a country of just 200,000 people.

Epworth Geelong Gastroenterologist Associate Professor Chris Hair has organised for several pallet loads of items which include thousands of facemarks and gowns, hand sanitiser, disposable cups and plates for measles-infected patients to help avoid the disease spreading.

"Samoa desperately needs these supplies as much of the equipment required is single use to stop the spread of infection," Dr Hair said.

"The mass vaccination campaign seen last week was essential in stopping the spread of disease, now over 89 per cent of the population have received MMR vaccination."

Associate Professor Chris Hair is a director of the Australia and New Zealand Gastroenterology International Training Association (A.N.Z.G.I.T.A) and regional leader for South Pacific program including Samoa. He is passionate in his efforts to support education and training programs in the Pacific Islands.

"The major hospital in Apia is full of sick children and much needed support for the limited numbers of Samoan paediatric medical and nursing staff is essential. Our consumable donation will assist the medical and nursing teams on the ground to continue to provide their incredible work to the population"

Epworth Group Director Procurement and Supply Melinda Tippett said Epworth and their supply partners are pleased to coordinate the donations.

"These are devastating times for the people of Samoa and we are proud to have our medical experts acting s global citizens for better health outcomes in a time of crisis and are thankful to our suppliers who contributed donations for their generous support," Ms Tippett said.

The logistics of transporting the donations to Samoa were made possible thanks to the kind support of Mr Denis Bilston from Wilhemsen Shipping.

Epworth continues to support and donate medical and operating equipment, and other materials to equip and aid hospitals, health services and communities in developing countries that need this equipment most. 


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