St George’s nurse called to tackle measles outbreak in Samoa
Last December, a St George’s nurse, Susanna Keiderling, went to help saves lives in Samoa where a fatal outbreak of measles was affecting thousands of people.
Susanna, who works as a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Clinical Nurse Specialist at St George’s, was among of group of doctors and nurses who left the UK on 12 December to help children suffering in Samoa.
Susanna was out there for two weeks, working over Christmas and returning on 30 December.
Susanna was on call with UK-Med – an organisation which deploys medical teams to emergencies around the world.
Susanna said: “A state of emergency on the island had been declared as more than 5,700 cases were diagnosed, mostly in children under five years of age.
“We were working in a tent hospital that had been set up to take some of the burden of patients as the hospital was overflowing. It was quite shocking to see the sheer number of cases and just how sick these children were; I’d never before seen such severe complications resulting from measles.”
Most of those affected by the outbreak were babies and young children.
Susanna said: “Unfortunately there were 83 deaths during the outbreak and experiencing the deaths of children from this easily preventable disease was really heart-breaking.
“It was a privilege to work together with the Samoan staff during this time and learn from one another. Most of these nurses had been working non-stop for weeks since the outbreak started without a day off, yet still had a smile on their faces.
“I would like to especially thank my colleagues and managers from St George’s that I was allowed this opportunity and it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.
“UK-Med is always looking for NHS professionals to join this register and after having worked with them I would strongly encourage others to sign up as well. They are particularly keen for more paediatric nurses and doctors to join.”
To find out more about UK-Med and how to join their register, visit their website: https://www.uk-med.org/.