Gaps in New Zealand's health system led to the current measles outbreak that sparked the deadly epidemic in Samoa, warns a public health expert.
To date, there have been 72 measles-related deaths and 5210 measles cases recorded.
The government has said that 93 percent of the population has been vaccinated.
The state of emergency in Samoa, declared due to the epidemic, has been extended to 29 December, 2019.
Otago University Professor Michael Baker said there had been ongoing problems in New Zealand with leadership and applying effective immunisation systems.
There was now an opportunity for New Zealand to assist Samoa with high-quality immunisation registers, boosting medical workforce training and more comprehensive paediatric intensive care services, he said.
Professor Baker, from the university's department of public health, said the broader provision of public health in New Zealand needed closer examination and better funding to fix current failings.
New Zealand had to get its "act together on public health policy".
"We have wound down our national public health capacity hugely during my working life. And I'm really hopeful that the current sector review will recommend the establishment of a very substantial, capable, public health agency in New Zealand.
"That's been the real gap. New Zealand has no excuse for having big measles epidemics because we have all of the infrastructure we need to prevent these, and we're just not using it adequately."
Prof Baker said as a parent he would find it unimaginable to have a child die from a preventable illness like measles.
More needed to be done to control international borders, he said.
American Samoa's example of quarantine and travel restrictions to those without proof of vaccination had protected its people both from the Spanish Flu a century ago and also the current measles epidemic.
Extension to the State of Emergency effective immediately until 12am - 29 Dec 2019.— Government of Samoa (@samoagovt) December 14, 2019
Orders issued include conditions on:
- PUBLIC GATHERINGS
- INTER ISLAND TRAVEL
- OTHER ORDERS
Read full orders: https://t.co/Urkz5DeMrd pic.twitter.com/fht826MfNf