25 Jun 2003

Concern in Samoa about health care staff shortages

10:57 am on 25 June 2003

There is concern in Samoa about growing staff shortages in the health care sector.

The president of the Samoa Nurses Association, Fa'amanatu Neilsen, says more than a third of the 320 nurses have been lost to the profession in the past year.

She says some left to start families and she suggests that better pay should be offered to the nurses, many of whom are now on call around the clock.

And a hospital survey shows that there are only 38 doctors for the 74 positions needed to be filled.

The health minister, Mulitalo Siafausa, has told parliament that Apia's public hospital has only one doctor at night.

He says Samoa has problems keeping graduates whose training was made possible with government funding.

Doctors' starting pay in Samoa is a third of what's offered in New Zealand and five times lower than in American Samoa.