Family, friends and neighbours attend the funeral service of Valisa Talosaga, two years old who died after contracting measles. The service was held inside the familyâs home. It is common for funerals to be lived streamed on Facebook and for photos of the dead to be recorded on phone cameras.
As of December 16th 2019, there have been 5,200 confirmed cases of measles and 73 deaths in Samoa - out of a population of just over 200,000 people. A measles outbreak beginning in October has impacted the small island nation, which before the outbreak had a vaccination rate of only between 28-40% according to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef). Responding to the outbreak, the Samoan government has issued a state of emergency and enacted a mobile vaccination program which has now reportedly vaccinated over 90% of the population.
Faleasiâu township Samoa. 12th December 2019. Matthew Abbott for The New York Times.