In just six weeks, a measles outbreak has killed more than 60 and infected 2 percent of the population in Samoa. In response to this emergency, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies’ graduate Hui Ola Pono will be collecting medical supplies and monetary donations to support response efforts.
The idea for a supply drive was sparked by public health graduate student Preciousz Savusa, who has familial roots in Samoa. This past summer, Savusa participated in the Pacific Experience program, which gave her the opportunity to work in American Samoa and meet Kenneth Kuaea, executive director at American Samoa Community Health Centers (ASCHC).
When she learned about the toll of the current outbreak, Savusa felt compelled to take action. She reached out Kuaea, and learned that ASCHC is helping to administer relief to Samoa by providing medical assistance and supplies.
“It’s simply not enough to feel sympathy for our families back home. As a UH Mānoa public health student of Samoan descent, it is my responsibility to lend a helping hand to my community, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone,” said Savusa. “I am grateful for the partnership of public health graduate student Dejah Faʻasoa and the graduate Hui Ola Pono who are helping to move this initiative forward.”
Princess Visconde, president of graduate Hui Ola Pono, also saw an opportunity. “It really is our kuleana to promote health, not only in Hawaiʻi but the Pacific region as well.”
Several ways to donate
Medical supply donations
Anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitizer, medical face masks, Clorox wipes, hand wipes, latex/non-latex gloves and reusable bags will be accepted at drop off points at the following locations and times on the UH Mānoa campus:
- Biomed D-204: Daily between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Gartley Hall Room 203: Daily between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Campus Center: December 10 between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ongoing via Venmo: @UHM_SupportOurSamoa. One hundred percent of the donations will be used to purchase medical supplies in bulk.
All supplies will be shipped directly to ASCHC, who will send these supplies to Samoa. The goal is to send an initial shipment before Christmas.
“We want to thank the UH community for coming together to respond to this urgent public health crisis. We hope to make a difference this holiday season!” said Office of Public Health Studies Director Tetine Sentell.
Questions about the supply drive can be directed to Preciousz Savusa at firstname.lastname@example.org.